Winter weather cleanup costs in KY could mean less money for spr - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Winter weather cleanup costs in KY could mean less money for spring projects

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - The wicked winter weather is gone, but its effects still being felt by Kentuckiana.  The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says because of the cost of snow and ice clean-up, some spring projects, may be put on hold.

KYTC officials say, during the winter, Kentucky spent more than $68 million on the clean-up which is nearly 1.5 times more than normal.

"We've had more snow events coming more often this past winter than we have over the last few years," said Andrea Clifford, spokeswoman for KYTC.

She says this past winter’s been brutal on road crews.  During 31 snow events, some of them emergencies, KYTC says it put down more than 438,000 tons of salt, which is more than double during the 2012-2013 winter season.  Add that to the nearly 2,000 maintenance crew employees covering 60,000 lane miles, the costs really add up.

"From equipment usage, to materials, salt, calcium chloride, brine that we spray, the salaries and overtime of the employees, we utilized contract trucks to supplement our forces, so all of those things are taken into account for that $68 million that was spent statewide," says Clifford.

That means less money for spring cleaning projects like mowing, tree trimming, sign repairs, and pavement patching.  KYTC says some of those items could be put on hold, but issues that could be hazardous, like potholes, will be fixed.

"The safety items such as the guardrail repairs and the pothole patching those have to come first,” says Clifford.  “That has to be our priority before we go to things considered aesthetic off the roadway."

As for the City of Louisville, it spent $2.6 million to clear city streets, most of which was spent on 41,000 tons of salt.  But Clifford says it’s money well spent to keep drivers safe.  "Whether it's clearing the snow and ice off the roadways, keeping traffic signals operational, keeping the pavement striped, that's our number one mission is the safety of the motoring public.”

As for INDOT, it spent a record $57 million in winter clean-up.  Plow drivers there covered nearly 9,000,000 miles which is enough to make 18 round trips to the moon.

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