UDOT crews prepare for Monday night’s snowstorm

Apr 11, 2022, 5:01 PM | Updated: Jun 20, 2022, 12:55 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Snowplow crews from the Utah Department of Transportation have prepared to clear another overnight snowstorm. But, this winter has not exactly overwhelmed the department’s budget with big storms.

In general, it’s been a relatively slow plow season, which could leave a little extra money for other projects.

“Our plows are going to be concentrating on the mountain areas because we could see up to a foot in some areas,” said John Gleason with UDOT.

So said the forecast for Monday night’s storm.

“We are expecting an intense amount of snow that’s going to fall in a short amount of time. So, our plows are going to be out there putting down the brine solution, making sure that we’re prepared,” Gleason said.

Winter weather, strong winds moving into Utah

UDOT budgeted $24.1 million for snow removal this winter. But, with a below-average number of storms, they have spent only $21 million so far. They still have $3 million in reserve.

In general, a statewide storm costs about $1 million to clean up. UDOT estimates about two dozen snowstorms each winter.

“There have been periods of time, weeks even, it feels like months where we haven’t really had a lot of the storms,” Gleason said.

This storm could present plenty of plowing up in the canyons. Road crews will pre-treat those roads but, they may not need to plow much in the valleys.

“This is probably not going to be one of our more expensive storms because the soil temperatures are so warm right now it’s not going be a mid-season type storm where the snow automatically sticks,” Gleason said.

Three years ago, UDOT busted its snow removal budget by $4.5 million. That year it dipped into an emergency fund for $2 million and also pulled money from spring maintenance projects. This spring it will use any extra money to repair potholes culverts and fencing on and around our roadways.

“There have been a couple of years where we’ve had to pull money from other maintenance projects, and there been other years where we’ve been a little bit under. So, it tends to even out,” Gleason said.

Nearly $6 million of that money went for road salt, 160,000 cubic yards in all. That’s less than each of the last two years. UDOT spent $7.01 million two years ago on 204,500 cubic yards of salt and $6.02 million last year on nearly 167,000 cubic yards of salt.

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UDOT crews prepare for Monday night’s snowstorm