Adding up the cost of winter

The winter of 2012-2013 took a toll on the state of Ohio’s roads budget. ODOT reported $79.2 million has been spent on snow and ice removal over the past winter, while the total cost for the same period in 2011-2012 was $43.8 million.

“Last year was pretty mild during the winter months, and this year wasn’t so bad, but there was a lot of icing and colder than normal temperatures,” said David Rose, public information officer for ODOT District 10, which includes Washington County.

District 10 spent a total of $4.8 million on labor, materials and equipment for the 2012-2013 winter season, compared with a total of $1.9 million for the 2011-2012 season.

ODOT District 10 used a total of 41,395 tons of salt this winter, compared to only 14,209 tons last year.

“We know we cannot control the weather, so our goal each winter season is to ensure our people are trained, equipment is road ready and materials are well stocked prior to the first snow,” Rose said.

Washington County Engineer Roger Wright said labor, equipment and materials cost the county $466,338 for the past winter, compared to a little more than $413,000 for the 2011-2012 season.

“Last year salt was pretty expensive, but this winter the price was $10 less per ton, which helped keep the costs down,” Wright said. “Every year is different. But because of a milder winter last year, our salt storage buildings were still pretty full from 2011 when this winter began.”

He said there may have been one week in which snow fell fairly constantly over the past winter.

“We mostly had intermittent snowfalls that would suddenly start and then stop,” Wright added. “So we had some call-outs for our crews. But all in all, this was basically a typical winter.”

Marietta streets superintendent Todd Stockel agreed.

“This winter wasn’t any worse than last year, but we probably had to use more salt at times because there were some colder than normal temperatures. We usually use a 50/50 mixture of salt and sand on city streets, but this year we sometimes had to use a 75/25 mix due to the ice. There wasn’t a lot of snow.”

Stockel said the city used about 550 tons of salt during the past winter, compared to an estimated 300 tons during the winter of 2011-2012.

“But we probably had a little less call-outs for crews this year,” he said. “Last year there were close to 72 hours of call-out time, but we had roughly 50 hours this year-mostly because of icing on the roadways.”

Statewide, the National Weather Service reported a colder and snowier winter than normal, according to a recent Associated Press report.

In central Ohio the average temperature was 37.3 degrees, which was 4.6 degrees lower than normal. Snowfall in the same area was 12.1 inches, more than 7 inches above normal.

Locally the average high temperature in March was 46.3 degrees, nearly 8 degrees below normal, according to figures from Marietta weather watcher Charlie Worsham.

The local snowfall amount in March was 2 inches, which was 0.9 inches below normal, he said.