23 states report spending $1.31 billion on winter roadway treatment

Results of an initial Winter Maintenance Operations Survey conducted by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) have been released, showing that 23 states spent about $1.131 billion from October 2014 to mid-April 2015 for pre-treating, plowing roads, or spreading chemicals and other materials on roadways to keep them clear and passable through the winter.

"The responsibilities of State Departments of Transportation (DOT) go far beyond planning, designing, constructing and maintaining roadways and bridges," AASHTO Executive Director Bud Wright said. "When we think about funding transportation we need to consider the total amount needed to keep people and goods moving throughout the entire year. The 23 surveyed states spent more than $1 billion and eight million work hours this winter season. That's indicative of the amount of resources needed and the commitment and dedication displayed by state DOTs."

Many of the surveyed states, including Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland and New Hampshire, reported experiencing some of their worst storms ever this past winter.

"Comparatively speaking, this was an extremely challenging winter season, " AASHTO Snow and Ice Cooperative Program Coordinator Rick Nelson said. "Multiple southern states were hit hard by ice storms and the eastern part of the U.S., especially New England, had their budgets squeezed by a concentration of snow storms and freezing temperatures. Not only were Eastern states pounded by record setting snowfall -- the winter storms kept coming, one after the other, compelling DOTs to keep plows on the road the entire season."

The study revealed dedicated state employees and contractors worked 8 million hours over the winter months and used about 6 million tons of salt.

"When it comes to winter operations, states are committed to doing what it takes to keep roadways open and safe," Nelson said. "And it's important to note that when you've got a massive fleet of more than 20,000 pieces of equipment on our roadways removing snow and ice there's going to be wear and tear. The snow may have disappeared, but state DOTs are left with leaner budgets and miles of potholes to repair."

Milder winters than normal were reported by Indiana, Missouri, Montana, South Dakota, Utah, Washington State and Wyoming. Average winters were reported by Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan and Nebraska; and difficult to severe winters were reported by Arkansas, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Vermont.

The full report can be found online at http://downloads.transportation.org/AASHTO_2014-2015WinterSurvey.xlsx.

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