Winter’s impact on road repairs

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PennDOT officials admit they've been fortunate this winter, but know they're not out of the woods yet.

This winter hasn't been nearly as rough as last year in terms of snow amounts and cold temperatures. Because of this, PennDOT in York County not only has been able to stay on top of treating roads and potholes on local highways, they have been able to stay under budget as well.

"From our standpoint, right now, we're doing quite well," said Mike Summerville, assistant manager of York County's PennDOT chapter.

Summerville told FOX43 PennDOT has only used half of its $3.3 million winter budget, which is used primarily to purchase salt (York Co. PennDOT uses approximately 440 tons per storm) and anti-slick road treatment. Additionally, he doesn't anticipate the winter to affect any future paving projects, once they are determined in a few weeks.

However, another winter storm could be on the way in the later parts of the weekend, into early next week, and that could put a dent into their

"We're staying actively on top of that right now," Summerville said. "Obviously, we're still in winter traffic service mode this weekend.

"It all depends how long 'Old Man Winter' plans to stick around."

Meanwhile, smaller municipalities face tighter budgets when it comes to  the cost of winter.

In South Middleton Township in Cumberland County, plow trucks are used, on average, 19 times per winter, but they hit that mark last week.

"We're hoping to keep it to 26 or 27 this season," said South Middleton Township Supervisor Tom Faley.

"If we have to do more, and it appears we're going to have to do more than an average winter, then those monies will come out of what we'd use to rehabilitate and repave roads in the summer," he said.

South Middleton has a $468,000 annual budget it uses to treat and resurface roads. Of that total, approximately $50,000 is used for snow treatment materials, such as salt and anti-skid.

Faley said while most roads in his township have handled winter well, and his staff has been able to continually treat roads, some smaller roads have crumbled under the weather, and those shoot to the top of South Middleton's priority list.

"I hope we can do it all but if the winter is bad, it drops proportionately," he said. "And that's just the way of doing business."

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