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Oregon DOT adding up costs of snow removal

The Oregonian
SALEM – Snowstorms in December and January swallowed almost a quarter of the $18 million the Oregon Department of Transportation budgeted for winter maintenance costs this fiscal year, preliminary figures show.

Transportation crews used almost 90,000 cubic yards of sand and 150,000 gallons of anti-icing chemical on state highways, said Doug Tindall, the agency's state highway maintenance engineer.

The storms cost the agency about $3.8 million. It would recoup about $1.65 million from the federal government if President Bush declares an emergency, which Gov. Ted Kulongoski has asked him to do.

The winter maintenance budget pays for plowing, sanding, and fixing potholes and other damage caused by the weather.

In Region 1, which encompasses the Portland area, 12 days of cold weather cost about $1.2 million – out of $3 million budgeted – in supplies and pay, spokesman Dave Thompson said. That includes $450,000 for more than 15,000 cubic yards of sand, $26,000 for 51,100 gallons of de-icer and $20,000 to replace 111 rubber snowplow blades, he said.

The region spent $400,000 in overtime and regular pay for 175 workers.