The snow we saw Sunday night has thawed out, but not before leaving behind a little winter savings. TXDOT crews say the mild Texoma winter is causing funds to really stack up.
Last fiscal year the department had a little more than $8 million allocated toward roadway materials. The money goes to de-icing material, freeze guard and snow blades as well as other items. In February 2011 TXDOT used $421,590 for roadway materials.
This year the department has more than $13 million to use for materials. We're barely in the middle of February 2012 and the department has used a lot less than last year at $142,731, and there's still plenty more money to be spent.
Twenty-five years on the job and Junior Martinez is a pro at plowing snow.
"I went out this morning and the night crew went out last night," he said.
Two and a half to three inches of snow fell across Wichita Falls Sunday night into Monday morning. It's the first accumulated snowfall this season and a far cry from last year's February Freeze and Christmas Blizzard of '09. For Junior the lack of snowfall means a break.
"It's a lot easier on the equipment. People get to go home and relax for a little while."
It also means a smaller paycheck.
"That's all overtime for these guys and a lot of them depend upon a little bit of that," said Adele Lewis with TXDOT.
Our mild Texoma winter has created a bit of a surplus in funds for TXDOT.
"When we're not buying snow blades of freeze guard, we can put back into our budget for the summer."
The department can use that extra money to buy hot mix for road repaving, fix potholes and just about any miscellaneous work needed throughout its nine county district.
"We have a list of roadways that need overlays and seal coats all the time. We can only get to so many because we're only given so many dollars to use for that portion of our mission. This year we may be able to do some of that," said Lewis.
Outside TXDOT's Fisher Road location the vehicles used to clear up snow are at standstill. De-icing stone is also piled in abundance.
Newschannel 6 also spoke to an official with the city's street department. He says money saved will accumulate and can be used for other street projects.