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March 19. 2013 9:13PM

Snow removal puts state $6 million in hole


A Department of Transportation plow truck treats the road way at the Interstate 93 and Interstate 293 split in Manchester on Tuesday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

The state's Department of Transportation expects to spend $6 million more than budgeted for snow removal this winter and may need to ask the Legislature to approve money to cover the increased cost.

The state budgeted about $39 million for winter maintenance but expects to spend about $45 million. Last winter totaled about $32 million for "a relatively mild winter," department spokesman Bill Boynton said Tuesday.

"As always is the case, we don't know how the winters are going to play out," Boynton said, noting last month ranked as the worst month in 20 years on a winter severity index that measures the effect of weather on maintaining roads.

Before Tuesday's storm, Concord already had 72 inches of snow this winter, 17.2 inches above normal.

At the same point last year, the city saw 48.9 inches compared to a normal 54.8 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

A fleet of 310 state plow trucks and 437 hired trucks cleared 4,600 miles of state-maintained roads Tuesday. A statewide storm typically costs about $565,000 for an eight-hour shift without overtime, including staff, equipment and salt. An eight-hour overtime shift runs $609,000.

Some crews in southwest New Hampshire were called out at 10 p.m. Monday.

Last winter's budget had more than $7 million left over, with some of that money devoted to tasks such as tree trimming and guardrail work in the summer, Boynton said.

mcousineau@unionleader.com


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