Snow, ice removal reaches $27 million mark for state

Plenty of salt still on hand for second half of season

FRANKFORT, Ky. Halfway through the winter season, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) has spent $27 million on snow and ice removal. This figure reflects costs of all kinds – labor, equipment, materials and contractors.

With several snow and ice events already on the books for this season, KYTC’s nearly 2,000 maintenance crew employees have worked to keep more than 60,000 lane miles of roads open this winter. KYTC’s vehicle and equipment fleet includes 1,065 snowplows. In addition, the cabinet can call on 382 contracted snowplow trucks to assist with snow and ice removal.

KYTC crews have spread more than 220,000 tons of salt, compared to 85,000 tons at this time last year during a relatively mild winter. While this winter has experienced more snow and ice events than last year, it has not set a record. During the winter of 2010-2011, Kentucky used more than 450,000 tons of salt and spent nearly $74 million on wintry precipitation.

Though the amount of snow and ice that falls each winter is hard to predict, KYTC’s crews are prepared for the second half of the season. More than 150,000 tons of salt remains on hand.

“We stockpile enough salt to get through what we anticipate to be a normal winter,” Deputy State Highway Engineer Nancy Albright said. “If we need additional salt, we’ll either purchase it from our contracted salt vendors or from other vendors when we can’t buy it from our current contract.”

While crews work to keep our roads clear and safe, drivers are also asked to maintain safe driving habits during wintry weather.

Motorists are advised to:

  • Exercise greater caution when driving. Slow down.
  • Give a wide berth to snow plows and other heavy highway equipment.
  • Eliminate distractions while behind the wheel.
  • Beware of ice as temperatures fall and roadways refreeze. A mechanical breakdown is especially dangerous in bitter cold.
  • Keep a blanket, flash light and emergency supply kit in your vehicle.
  • Stay in the vehicle if you become stranded. Help will come.

Road conditions throughout the state can be found on the Transportation Cabinet website at www.511.ky.gov, by calling 511 in Kentucky or 1-866-737-3767 for out-of-state callers. Links to weather updates, weather safety tips, including winter driving tips, can be found on the Kentucky Emergency Management website at www.kyem.ky.gov.

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