Kingsport crews hit the streets at first sign of snowflakes

Matthew Lane • Jan 17, 2008 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — From the first flake of snow Wednesday night and throughout the day on Thursday, Kingsport’s Public Works Department was on the job of making sure the streets were clear.

The Model City got hit with a late night snowstorm around midnight Wednesday — the first major snowfall of the new year. But as most people were sleeping through the falling snow, 20 Kingsport snow removal trucks were on the road, spreading salt and scraping off ice and snow.

“We put all of the snow equipment on (Wednesday), and we had crews come in around midnight. The precipitation started a little thereafter, around 1 a.m.,” said Ronnie Hammonds, streets and sanitation manager for the city. “We started salting and pushing snow, and we’ve been doing it ever since.”

Crews started with the major roads in the Model City such as Stone Drive, Fort Henry Drive and Lynn Garden Drive, then cleaned the major roads in and out of the subdivisions like Orebank, Eastman Road and Watauga. By 6 a.m., Hammonds said crews moved into the subdivisions and continued as the day wore on.

The snow turned to a rainy mixture around 6 a.m. on Thursday, and by the afternoon public works crews were in the final stages of cleaning up the snow.

Kingsport’s fleet maintenance crew came into work early Thursday morning to make sure the snow removal equipment kept working throughout the day.

Hammonds said crews used about 480 tons of salt on the roads on Thursday. Kingsport keeps about 1,500 tons of salt, and the last major usage was on New Year’s night, when the city used 350 tons of salt.

“This one, the temperature was decent, and in some locations the salt didn’t work as good,” Hammonds said. “We’re running 12-hour shifts, and we’ll be putting down some salt this afternoon to keep the roads from freezing overnight.

“It’s cautionary in case the roads freeze back.”

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