The quiet start to winter around Central North Carolina from a snow perspective is saving the North Carolina Department of Transportation millions of dollars. Despite some snow in the mountains, no statewide event has happened so far that could easily eat tens of millions of dollars from the DOT budget.
“Snow storms, especially if you get one that is statewide, can be very expensive – 40, 50, 60 million dollars – depending on how severe they are, and unless it’s declared a federal disaster area, we don’t get reimbursed for that money from the federal government. We eat that out of our maintenance budget,” said Steve Abbott, spokesman for the NC DOT.
The savings does not mean the more than 900 projects put on hold will get started, but it does mean area roadways will be cleaner this year.
“What that does is help pay for litter pick up, potholes, mowing, maintenance things like that that if we have a big winter storm. Let’s say we end the year spending 70 million dollars, 80 million for winter all year, that’s money we have to take away from the maintenance budget for other things,” explained Abbott.
Your drive will also be smoother because a common winter problem is not as bad as in years past.
“A lot of the potholes we get are when we have a freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw. So a lot of times, we are out in January and February with hundreds of potholes. We have not had anywhere near that,” stated Abbott.
It is important to note that nearly 25 percent of all snowfall in winter for Raleigh falls in February, and it only takes one decent snow or ice storm to completely eliminate the savings so far by the DOT.