SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — This year, Utah has seen an intense winter — all these storms have been keeping snowplows busy and, in fact, the Utah Department of Transportation has exceeded its budget on snow removal.     

“It’s been a massive effort by our snowplow drivers. It’s been storm after storm after storm this winter, and it’s really critical we are out there managing the roads and making sure they’re clear so people can get where they’re going to safely,” said UDOT Public Relations Director John Gleason.

Gleason said that 2.24 million miles have been driven so far this winter by UDOT plow operators, they have worked 119,995 hours and used 264,000 tons of salt. There are still two more months left of winter weather, and he said they have already gone over their annual budget for snow removal.

“Usually, we plan for about $24 million. That’s about a million dollars for every statewide storm – and we’ve actually exceeded that budget this year already. We are at about $25.8 million,” he said.

All of the money that goes from snow removal comes from the maintenance division, and within that, he said are projects that are non-essential that they will borrow from to ensure they can continue keeping roads clear.

“We have paving projects or chip seal projects that can be pushed off till July, the next fiscal year, so that we can handle these on essential responsibilities,  plowing the roads, pothole repairs. Those things that would constitute a safety concern,” he said.

Gleason said the last time they went over budget was four years ago. Last year, he said they were under the expected budget and that money was put toward other maintenance activities. When it comes to the rest of this winter, he said they’re doing everything they can to gear up and keep drivers safe.

“We have a few more storms lining up in the forecast and we’ll be ready. We’re always ready and as long as it’s snowing our plows will be out there,” he said.