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Wichitans express safety concerns with salt and sand left on city streets

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – The salt and sand that covers roads during the winter is applied to protect drivers by providing traction to their tyres. But once a storm passes, what’s left is dirty and annoying to some. With Kansas’s ever-changing climate, the byproduct of winter weather stays on for months.

But when there is no ice or snow, the mixture meant to help can also become a hazard, especially for motorcyclists and cyclists on the roads after the winter weather passes.

“It’s like a sandbox on the streets. It’s slippery,” said Wichita cyclist Robert Brown. They can’t get him away fast enough.

Biker Nick Piatt said it’s hard to gain traction in the salt and sand.

“Even in a straight line, we can hit a random pile of sand and lose traction that way as well,” he said.

Even windshields take a beating.

“I’ve had my windshield cracked several times now from sand on the roads,” Piatt said. “It’s from a passenger car or a larger truck you get stuck on the highway. There is constantly sand coming out of their tires, hitting my vehicle.

The city of Wichita expects to begin sweeping away the excess sand in about six weeks, provided the weather cooperates. The sand is then reused as cover material for the landfill. The city said this saves about $660,000 in landfill costs.

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