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October Snowstorm Shakes Up The Head Of The Jersey DOT [AUDIO]

Eric Scott, Townsquare Media NJ


With 7 weeks to go before the official start of winter, the head of the Jersey Transportation Department is still scratching his head after a freak snowstorm.

DOT Commissioner Jim Simpson says his crews did an outstanding job, but “you know, the snow did surprise us a little bit- the volume of snow wasn’t forecast to be as high as it was.”

He says when the flakes started flying on Saturday “I could not believe it was actually happening- I said am I going to wake up from this bad dream that I’m having? This eternal snow storm never quits!”

The Commissioner points out it’s still too soon to say how much it cost to clean up the storm, since “we have to get the quantity of materials spent – labor spent – we don’t have a rough idea yet but we will know soon…we always understand in the back of our minds its cost – but we put safety first – so we make sure we put all the equipment out there…there is no partial snowstorm in the state of New Jersey – it’s a full mobilization – so we had planned this as a full mobilization and thank goodness we did, otherwise we would have really been caught short.”

Simpson adds no matter how much snow falls this winter “we will find the money for snow -it’s just something that we – we can’t wait for the snow to melt – we’ll find the money – but that means something else is going to be cut someplace else…the DOT starts with a snow budget of about 10 million dollars but you know we can just call the Legislature and say we need more money.”

He also says just like an athlete that works out all the time “all the departments have gotten better, because we’re having so many crisis situations – so we’re really learning from our mistakes – we’re always trying to improve…the biggest thing is we don’t want to get caught by Mother Nature – we’re waiting for that curve ball from Mother Nature – we just want to plan so that we can stay on top of Mother Nature – she’s had a lot in store for us lately.”

So what’s he expecting when it actually becomes winter?

“I don’t know” says Simpson, “but it’s a pretty bad omen when you have heavy snow – I think we had almost 19 inches in Sussex – before Halloween.”

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