Warm winter means potentially big savings for PennDOT

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — If this year’s winter continues to stay relatively mild, PennDOT says it could save millions of dollars — which will go right back into regional road projects.

PennDOT spokesman Brad Rudolph said they still have about 120,000 tons of salt left — a big indicator of savings for road managers.

“We've only used a little over 17,000 (tons of salt), so we'll have to order less next year, so that money will be saved in next year's budget,” he said. “There's a lot of savings to be had. It's all going to be used to maintain and improve our network.”

There are still four weeks left of winter, but it’s on track to be the second lightest in the region. The lightest winter in this area was in 1997-98, when PennDOT spread only about 14,000 tons of salt.

In addition, PennDOT has only used roughly one-third of the $29.5 million budgeted for snow and ice conditions this season. 

The mild temperatures allow road crews to swap the plowing and salting for spring and summer maintenance, like filling potholes.

As Rudolph looks ahead to the rest of winter, he said even if another storm or two hit, the budget shouldn’t be affected.