Still in Winter, VDOT Drains Staunton Snow Removal Budget

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The Virginia Department of Transportation has already drained its snow removal budget for the year in the Staunton district.

Snowy, icy weather exceeded estimates for the season, and the numbers haven't come in yet from the damage done by last week's storm. From equipment and manpower to all the resources poured in to pre-treating roads and cleaning up messes, this season is burning through emergency funds.

"I think most of us will remember this winter as one we'd prefer to forget,” said VDOT communications specialist Ken Slack.

Slack says the Staunton district, which covers more than 7,000 miles of roads in 11 counties, has already surpassed snow removal funds for the year.

"It's still not over; we still have another month of official winter according to the calendar. So we may very well have plenty more work to do when it comes to snow removal or treating to prevent ice on the roadways,” Slack said.

This year's budget was set at $11.2 million, which is now gone. Slack says that does not change the efforts put in to more winter storms that could come our way.

"First and foremost is we keep the roads as safe as possible. We pre-treat, we plow, we treat these roads, and we will continue doing so until every road is passable and safe,” Slack said.

And he says you can't put a price tag on safety.

"It's an emergency operation, which means you do the best you can to plan for it, but nobody can say for sure how much snow or how much ice we're going to get from year to year, so we do our best to go by our history and try to estimate a budget for that,” Slack said.

Slack says all we can do is hope for the best, but prepare to keep on weathering the blast.

"We will continue to attack storms that might come to us at the end of February or sometime in March the same way that we did the same way with the first one that came before Thanksgiving,” Slack said.

He says it all comes down to the fact that it is impossible to predict the future, much less weather patterns a year out.

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