Twenty-three States spent around $1.1 billion from October 2014 to mid-April 2015 to pre-treat, plow, or spread chemicals and other materials on roads to keep them open and safe this winter. This is according to the Winter Maintenance Operations Survey conducted by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials.
The AASHTO report found that state employees and contractors put in 8-million work hours this season. As many as 24,000 state and private snow plows were deployed and about 6-million tons of salt was used during the winter season.
This winter was seen as particularly challenging due to hard-hitting ice storms in southern states and harsh weather in New England. Massachusetts alone reported 31 winter storms with two among the worst storms on record.
“Comparatively speaking, this was an extremely challenging winter season,” said Rick Nelson of AASHTO. “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.”
Maryland used $108 million for this season to address the 35% increase in snow it saw this winter. Connecticut spent $45 million combating the weather’s toll on roads and New Hampshire spent $46 million or 55% of its annual maintenance budget.
"When it comes to winter operations, states are committed to doing what it takes to keep roadways open and safe," said Nelson. "The snow may have disappeared but State DOTs are left with leaner budgets and miles of potholes to repair."