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Severe Winter Weather Costs Delaware Valley Tens Of Millions… So Far

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — This winter has really taken it’s toll on all of us. And so far it’s also cost tens of millions of dollars to clear the snow and ice.

PennDOT crews were already out on area highways laying down some brine in anticipation for whatever snow may come this weekend.  It will be the latest round for Mother Nature during this winter that has already frayed nerves and lightened wallets.

From driving snow that crippled traffic and caused accidents, to an ice storm that left more than a half million people in our region in the dark, the cost of this winter could be tallied in varied ways including serious inconveniences.  Allen Ashton had to deal with cold temperatures inside his home in Abington, Montgomery County, after he lost power and heat Wednesday morning.

“Feels like I could actually cool down my refrigerator by opening the door and letting cold air in to it. So it’s cold,” Ashton said.

Financially speaking, damage to people’s personal properties and to their homes and to their cars as well will cost them thousands of dollars. And the expenses don’t stop there for taxpayers.

DelDOT just released a snapshot of the cost of this winter so far.  After adding up all the salt that’s been used, overtime labor costs, and clearing out the sidewalks, more than $9.5 million has been spent so far by DelDOT.  But that isn’t even half of what PennDOT has spent so far this winter in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs alone.

‘We came into this week at 85% of our winter budget,” Gene Blaum, spokesperson of PennDOT said.

That adds up to already around $20 million and we’re not even halfway through February.  All of these storms have forced PennDOT to use more than 116,000 tons of salt which is already breaking salt usage records that date back to the early ’80’s.

“That is the sixth time in the past 32 years we’ve exceeded 100,000-ton mark for a winter season,” Blaum said.

If PennDOT exceeds its winter budget like it has in previous bad winters, it will have to transfer money over from its general maintenance fund to continue with snow removal.

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