This winter's series of heavy snowfalls put a $9.2 million hurt on the state's annual snow removal budget and led to a raid on the fund that pays for road and bridge repair and maintenance.
Figures compiled by the Department of Transportation show the state spent $48.3 million to clear roads this season. It had budgeted $39.1 million and needed a transfer from the State Highway Fund to cover the shortfall.
DOT spokesperson Bill Boynton says not only was there simply more snow this winter, the storms were longer.
“In terms of overtime and hired equipment costs, those were higher this year," Boynton said. "And overall lane miles plowed were more. So the fleet really took a beating.”
A surprisingly heavy storm the day before Thanksgiving got things started. Then, after a relatively quiet December and most of January, the region got pounded by storm after storm.
"From the first of January on it was very intense," Boynton said. "We had many highway maintainers and patrol foremen who went weeks and weeks without any days off.”