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Slick C.O. roads eat into city sanding supply, send cars sliding into busy repair shops

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- With High Desert road conditions on the slick side for much of this winter so far -- something many long-timers would say is just more typical -- sanding and plowing crews are working to keep up -- and so are body shops, busy fixing vehicles that ran into various issues.

The city of Bend's Street Operations Division manager said Monday that the latest, weekend snowfall just was too little to plow. There has to be at least two inches on the road to plow well. Crews were out sanding the most-affected areas, instead, and gauging how much material they have for the rest of the season.

"This winter, we're so far on track for a normal winter for us," Charles Swann said. "So we're planned for one more or two more storms. But we're just not sure."

While, the snow levels in Bend have been fairly typical, drivers familiar with the conditions or not can still have problems. 

Kendall Collision Center Manager Ben Nolan said, "We do about 300 estimates a month currently, vs. summertime months, we do about 150 to 175." 

Nolan has been at the location since 1999 and said business has gone up dramatically since then.

"This year compared to last year is definitely, definitely much busier," Nolan said. "A lot more accidents, a lot more vehicles to repair."  

"We see vehicles that are virtually ripped in half," he added. "Obviously those aren't repaired, but you see a lot of bad ones, a lot of small ones."

To prepare for the snow, Swann said city crews will put more sand in roundabouts and at intersection approaches. 

"We're geared up for normal winters," Swann said. "We don't usually gear up for the unexpected, when it comes to budgeting and stockpiling. We can always shift gears in emergencies, if we need to."

Swann said the sand supply lasts a few years. He remembers just one year they used more than anticipated.

"We did have a year where we used quite a bit more than normal. I think it was close to 9,000 cubic yards, which was during the 2016 snow event," he said.

Article Topic Follows: Weather

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Kelsey McGee

Kelsey McGee is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Kelsey here.


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