Winter Preps Costing Taxpayers More

The big snowfall in February and several other small weather-related events have exhausted state resources. The sound of salt spreaders in action silences repairs on the roads. The more time workers spend getting ready for ice and sleet the less time and money they have to fix the streets. So far this year the Department of Transportation says statewide, four million dollars have been spent to prepare the roads for winter weather. Robert Dickinson, district maintenance engineer for the D.O.T., says, “The last several years, I don’t recall it being nearly this bad.” At the same time, Dickinson says the cold weather has caused more potholes and pavement problems than ever on roads in Richland and Lexington counties. The money spent on weather preps comes out of the D.O.T.’s maintenance budget. Dickinson says now more than ever they have to pick and choose projects. Some drivers we spoke with have strong opinions on weather preps versus road repairs. Monique Sampson says, “We need more money to go to fixing the roads instead of sand trucks or whatever they’re trying to do.” David Tolar says, “I’m surprised to see they’re making winter preps when how rarely we get that, when everyday people are dealing with the roads, and the damage they can do to your car is serious.” But Dickinson says the potential for bad weather cannot be taken lightly. He says, “Of course, we have to do what we have to do here, for safety. There’s no choice. We want to keep the roads as safe as possible.” Tuesday night D.O.T. will be checking for slick spots and using the salt trucks as needed.