MDOT expects to be over budget by $40 million this winter - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

MDOT expects to be over budget by $40 million this winter

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MICHIGAN (WJRT) -

(02/20/14) - More severe weather means we'll see plows and salt trucks on the streets once again - and we could be feeling the effects of this winter well into the summer.

The Michigan Department of Transportation says they expect to exceed their $88 million winter budget by $40 million. MDOT has used 80 percent more salt this year than last year.

Although salt supplies are holding up, other areas may take a hit.

MDOT is working with local road commissions to stretch the salt supplies through spring. The Saginaw County Road Commission expects to have enough salt this year.

Because MDOT exceeded its winter costs, this could mean that non-winter maintenance activities, such as brush and tree cutting and mowing grass, could be put on hold through October of this year.

The grass could get pretty high in the summer if MDOT doesn't have the resources left over after paying the high costs of winter eminence. They'll only mow the grass in areas that are a safety concern. Safety maintenance activities will be a top priority.

Anita Richardson, with MDOT, says because of the brutal winter, potholes season is expected to be worse.

"We have had the senate appropriations committee, they're in discussion now about an additional $100 million to help the state overall with the costs associated with maintenance this winter, but still it's a temporary fix and we've got a long-term problem in terms of keeping the roads in good condition after such a harsh winter season.

The brutal winter hasn't been easy on drivers, like Jasmine Jimenez.

"It's horrible because we don't know what every winter is going to be like. This winter, obviously, is a really rough winter as you can tell because it's snowing right now," she said.

Drivers fear that the roads won't get any better any time soon.

"What about the roads that need to get fixed in the summer? That's going to take away from that budget, there's not going to be enough money in the funding," Jimenez said.

MDOT estimates that an additional $1.3 billion is needed annually to keep Michigan roads in good condition.

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