CDOT plows through snow-clearing funds in Aspen and Glenwood Springs
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) already has plowed through all the funds it budgeted to clear snow and ice from roads in the Aspen and Glenwood Springs areas and now is relying on reserves.
“The budget is not only low, but gone,” CDOT spokeswoman Nancy Shanks said.
The agency had to scramble for additional funds for snow removal about halfway through the winter. Supplemental funding for snow maintenance was dispersed Jan. 17 and again Feb. 21, Shanks said.
CDOT’s fiscal year begins in July. It sets its budget for snow removal based on the expenditure from two winters before.
The Region 3 Grand Junction section, which includes Aspen, had a snow removal budget of $5.99 million for this winter, Shanks said. Within those funds, $1.49 million was set aside for plowing and otherwise dealing with snow in the Aspen and Glenwood Springs area.
After a warm and dry November, winter hit nearly all of Region 3 with a vengeance in December and continued into January. Record and near-record snowfall in many areas sapped CDOT’s snow maintenance budget. The transportation commission awarded $600,349 to the Grand Junction section in supplemental funds on Jan. 17 to make sure the plows and trucks spreading de-icer continued to roll.
Last week, the transportation commission awarded the remainder of its snow and ice contingency fund to the entire Region 3, which includes northwest Colorado in addition to the Grand Junction and Glenwood Springs areas. That added $800,387 for snow plowing and removal, Shanks said.
The snow has slacked off in February. However, March typically is one of the most active months of winter ” so CDOT’s budget could be further challenged.
The snowy winter also takes a toll on the condition of highways. The water from the snow fills cracks and holes, freezes and makes the openings bigger. Commuters on Highway 82 are getting proficient at dodging potholes.
“We will have a busy pothole repair and crack filling season,” Shanks said.
Until then, she urged motorists to slow down and keep their eyes open for potholes.
Highway 82 will receive spot repairs, where needed, once the weather warms up enough. A larger resurfacing project is planned for a three-mile stretch of Highway 82 in the midvalley. The area between mile marker 18 and 21 will be repaved in spring or summer. Motorists will face delays for about two months, Shanks said.
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