MDOT: Salt Supplies Holding, But Winter Costs Eating into Summer Maintenance Budgets
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) says that salt supplies are holding up despite using more than anticipated due to worse-than-average winter weather. However, winter cost overruns and an anticipated worse than usual pothole season are already squeezing summer maintenance budgets.
State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle says "MDOT, county road commissions, and municipal work departments will work together to make sure we get salt to wherever it's needed throughout Michigan, and potholes are patched as quickly as possible, but the higher than expected costs of this winter will make for some difficult choices when it comes to non-winter maintenance activities the rest of this year."
So far, MDOT has used more than 440,000 tons of salt on state highways through the end of January. That's 80 percent more than the same time last winter and 95 percent more than winter two years ago. MDOT also expects to exceed their $88 million winter budget by $40 million which will mean a reduction in non-winter maintenance through October 2014. Safety related maintenance will get top priority, but non-safety maintenance such as mowing, brush and tree cutting, and garbage clean-up may be deferred.