Harsh winter could impact state road maintenance throughout the year

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - As state road crews head out over the weekend they'll not only be spreading more salt, they'll also be spending more money. The state transportation cabinet says they've done a lot of both this winter.

With snow and sleet predicted for Sunday evening the director of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's division of maintenance expects to add to the millions of dollars the state has spent this winter.

"Crews are going to be coming out on Sunday in advance of the weather and working through the night until Monday morning," said Jon Wilcoxson.

Those crews will be slinging salt, burning fuel, and earning overtime. The costs have started adding up over the past few months.

"Typically we'll expect about a $30 million winter, so far this has been about $53 million that we've spent, and still a couple more months left to go," Wilcoxson said.

Wilcoxson says the state would have spent more this winter but they were unable to purchase the full amount of salt they had ordered because of a nationwide shortage.

Spending millions more than the state had anticipated means cuts will have to be made later in the year on other transportation maintenance projects.

"That money has to be made up somewhere else," he said. "What we'll do is look for opportunities to cut back on things like machine patching, tree and brush removal."

Wilcoxson says he hopes this latest round of snow and sleet is the last they deal with this winter.

"We get a set amount at the beginning of the year and when we have a mild winter that means we might have a little more to do some of the things we'd like to do, unfortunately this year that's not going to be the case."

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