So Far, This Has Been the Winter That Wasn’t for the NJ DOT
The past two winters in New Jersey were brutal, with cold temperatures and numerous snow and ice storms. This winter however, has been a horse of a different color.
According to New Jersey Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Schapiro, the weather has been so mild that there hasn’t been a single winter "weather event" so far this season for the state's plow and salt crews.
“We’re happy that the weather has been good. It makes it much easier for everyone that road conditions are clear and safe," Schapiro said.
But that doesn't mean the DOT won't be ready if wintry weather hits. h
“We are prepared for winter weather and we do expect that we’ll get some,” Schapiro said.
Last year, the DOT responded to 43 winter weather events, which means plow and salt crews were mobilized, spending a total of $127.9 million.
Two winters ago, the DOT had 50 winter weather events and spent $129.9 million dollars on snow and ice removal, while almost running out of road salt.
“Since that time, we’ve increased our statewide salt storage capacity by approximately 40 percent,” Schapiro said. “We had 164,000 tons of salt storage, we’ve increased that to nearly 228,000 tons.”
In addition, he said, the DOT has "increased our brine storage capacity, more than doubled it from 150 thousand gallons to 410,000 gallons.”
Brine is a salt water solution that’s used to pre-treat roads to make them less likely to have snow and ice bond to the surface of the roadway.
Shapiro said the DOT has also increased the number of brine applicators, so they can cover more roads in a shorter period of time.
“Our job is to keep the roads clear and we like to remind folks that our crews out there are actually the first responders,” he said. “We’re making sure emergency crews can respond to any incidents, and we are prepared for winter weather when it does come.”
Last year there were four winter weather events in November, eight in December, 11 in January, 12 in February, seven in March and one in April.