St. Louis to Send Salt Trucks Up the Side Streets

It's been tradition to let the side streets be
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Side street in south St. Louis on Jan 6, 2014. (KMOX/Tanya Sinkovits)

Side street in south St. Louis on Jan 6, 2014. (KMOX/Tanya Sinkovits)

calhoun2 Michael Calhoun
A native St. Louisan, Michael Calhoun grew up listening to the Voice...
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Salt, sand and calcium are coming to St. Louis City’s usually-neglected neighborhood streets.

It’s been tradition to let the side streets be, but department director Todd Waelterman said that, beginning Monday at noon, the city will drop the cocktail of chemicals to make the going easier.

(Tuesday morning update: Mayor Slay says about half of the city’s side streets could see treatment by midday Tuesday; all should get it within another 24-hours.

Waelterman adds that, on some streets, the trucks are actually lowering their plows to “get rid of the ruts and get the crown out.”)

“The snow’s not going to go away,” Waelterman cautions, but the treatment “should assist in the days to come.”

“The sand will give you a little grip now, while everything is still frozen, and as soon as we get some warm temperatures, [the calcium and salt will] start popping it and melting it and we’ll get to a little pavement.”

He hopes for rays of sunshine to warm the pavement temps Tuesday into the teens, to give the calcium a fighting chance.

Why not go all the way and just plow everything, especially on streets wide enough to accommodate the trucks?

“We’re in this urban enviornment where we depend a lot on this on-street parking,” Waelterman explained. “You drive down any of the residential streets and you’ll find a significant amount of cars parked on both sides, unlike in the county.”

Plowing, he said, would mean burying at least some of those cars.

Designated snow routes — major streets — will still receive their typical full-service pampering.

Also in the next day or so, Waelterman said city crews would work to physically remove snow from the parking spots and sidewalks of downtown’s Central Business District.

The cost for both measures is expected to be in the range of $200,000.

The change in street treatment policy, at least for this storm, is apparently due to demands from the city’s changing population. Waelterman said he’s heard, in tweets especially, about the lack of neighborhood street attention from young professionals who’ve moved into the city.

“I guess they came from places where all the streets were clean,” he said.

Contact reporter Michael Calhoun: mrcalhoun@cbs.com, @michaelcalhoun

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