SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Spring has sprung, but that doesn’t mean snow is out of the picture. The Utah Department of Transportation has plowed through its $24.1 million budget, with each winter storm costing about a million dollars for labor, equipment, and materials.
“The last two storms we’ve been in the contigency funds. We’ve got about two million dollars in reserve from maintenance, our maintenance division that we can use for plowing the roads,” said John Gleason with Utah Department of Transportation.
So long, winter! Hello, spring!!! We plowed through the winter budget, but ❄️ snow ❄️ is still in the forecast. How do we pay for removal on @abc4utah #utwx pic.twitter.com/YOsu2LAdlW— Alana Brophy (@AlanaBrophyNews) March 20, 2019
UDOT set aside the budget before winter and allows for one million dollars for each snow storm. As of Wednesday, the state has spent $26.4 million with two strong storms targeting central and southern Utah for the remainder of the week. Those storms will use contingency funds, but the longe range forecast brings in colder air and the chance for spring snow.
When the contingency cash is used, the department juggles funds and shifts some non-essential spring projects.
“Picking up litter, shoulder work, working on the guardrail that’s not as important as clearing roads, we can put those on the back burner for a month or two,” John Gleason of the Utah Department of Transportation said.
Major ongoing construction projects including the I-15 Tech Corridor construction will not be impacted because they use a different fund for money. Pothole repair is also necessary during the spring and is part of the maintenance budget. Potholes will be repaired regardless of what happens with the snow budget.
Not too many folks are salty about the season change—-but you might be when you hear about the cost of snow removal this winter & we aren’t done just yet! The story on @abc4utah #utwx pic.twitter.com/SI7fs9Wvnm— Alana Brophy (@AlanaBrophyNews) March 20, 2019
“If we use all of that money, there’s the next step, we go to the legislature and ask for them to appropriate additional funds,” said Gleason.
At this point, UDOT has no plans to go to the legislature for additional funding. The agency says safety is their top priority and they will continue to clear snow from roads and find a way to balance the budget.