NJ spending millions to keep snow, ice off roads
The calendar says spring, the birds are chirping but some parts of the Garden State could see more snow Friday night into Saturday.
All of the precipitation we’ve had is keeping the Department of Transportation busy — and straining their road-clearing budget.
According to Steve Schapiro, a spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Transportation, at the beginning of last month the DOT had spent $53.3 million to keep the roads clear. But with the four nor’easters we had in March, plus some other smaller storms, “our total expenditures through April first, we’re at about $92.5 million.”
That’s compared to a total of $62.5 million last winter.
He said during the 2016-2017 winter season, the DOT would up using 233,000 tons of salt and 535,000 tons of liquid calcium. So far this year, “we’ve used a total of approximately 375,000 tons of salt and we’ve used approximately 830,000 gallons of liquid calcium to treat the salt.”
DOT crews will often pre-treat roads with a brine solution before a storm and last year they used about 1.64 million gallons of brine solution.
“So far we’ve used approximately 2 million gallons of brine this season.”
He said as long as it keeps snowing the DOT will continue to salt, sand and plow.
“Our job is to make sure that the Interstates and state highways are safe, and that’s always our top priority."
Schapiro said the DOT will not run out of money to battle Old Man Winter.
“Each year we start out with about $10 million, and as the winter progresses we’re reimbursed by the Treasury for the money we spend on the roads," he said.
As for the prospect of more snow and ice Friday evening into Saturday in some parts of the state, he said “we’re keeping an eye on the forecast, we always do, we watch those very closely.”
“We’ll make sure our crews are in position for whatever the forecast calls for.”
He pointed out the worst winters in recent history were in 2014 and 2015 when the DOT spent about $129 million a year.
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You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com