2012-2013 Winter Digs into VDOT Budget - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

2012-2013 Winter Digs into VDOT Budget

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With winter weather extending longer than expected, the Virginia Department of Transportation says its snow removal efforts certainly added up this year. 

Although there were just a handful of moderate to significant storms, VDOT  was still very busy responding to more than 20 snow events this year. The good news: it was expensive, but not quite a budget-buster. 

Treating roads and removing snow across dozens of counties isn't cheap, and VDOT's snow bill is proof. 

"The equipment, the materials, the labor costs, but there are other costs involved, there's repair of equipment that breaks down, there's equipment that wears out," said Lou Hatter, manager of VDOT public affairs for Culpeper. 

VDOT says the 2012-2013 snow budget allocated for $9.4 million. So far, the agency has spent more than half of that at $6.36 million, and the number will likely go higher. 

"Now that's not a complete figure because obviously we still have expenses that will come in from this storm yesterday and today and some invoices that are still coming in from previous storms still. It's not complete, but it's close," Hatter said. 

This winter in Virginia hasn't been harsh, but the small events really added up. VDOT mobilized for a total of 23 events, including snow and wintry mixes, compared to last year's 11. 

"If we have a forecast for frozen precipitation, we're going to have to have our trucks out there on the roads and we have to bring our trucks in and be ready for the worst side of the forecast," said Hatter.

While many people hope that the weather will reflect the calendar date soon, VDOT says it never banks on spring putting it in the clear. 

"We look at the weather forecast and not the calendar, and plan accordingly," Hatter said.

In 2011, VDOT spent $5.2 million on snow-related maintenance. VDOT says, even with the pending invoices, it expects to be within this year's budget.

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