Winter weather takes a toll on road crews - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Winter weather takes a toll on road crews

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GRATIOT COUNTY (WJRT) -

(01/30/14) - It's been a long and costly winter for local road commissions. Crews have been working almost non-stop to clear snow and ice. In Gratiot County, spending for winter maintenance has already nearly doubled last years total, and there is still a lot of winter to go.

The County Road Commission has managed so far, but if the brutal winter weather continues, it could put a chill on the departments summer budget.

"This is probably the worst we've had in quite a while. It's very, very, very expensive," said Gratiot County Engineer Manager Mark Craft.

Old man winter has not been nice. These last few weeks the weather has thrown heavyweight punches packed with snow, ice, and this week wind. Crews have had to backtrack and clear roads they already covered.

"Right now with the way that this is going we get them open and it's plugged right back shut," said Matt Bupp, of the Gratiot County Road Commission.

Students in the county have had eight snow days so far this winter, including four in a row since Friday.

"Our biggest concern is safety for our students and our parents," said Lisa Seeley, principal at St. Mary Catholic School in Alma.

Removing the potential danger has cost the Gratiot County Road Commission more than $1 million already this year, and there is still at least two months to go. Last year the department spent about $590,000 on the entire winter maintenance budget.

"If it keeps up like this, it's going to have some impact on our summer budget for sure," Craft said.

The Road Commission hopes the winter weather calms down soon, and students can get back in the classroom.

"I hope so I have three kids at home and they are getting restless," Craft said.

Gratiot County hopes to have all the roads clear by Thursday night. Crews are asking parents to keep an eye on kids playing outside, and make sure they stay away from the snow plows.

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