Mild winter has Lexington Streets and Roads Dept. saving money on salt, overtime

Posted at 4:01 PM, Feb 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-19 17:44:30-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — This winter, Lexington's Streets and Roads crews were ready to go with new technology and facilities. One example is the new salt barn off East Brannon Rd.

“One of the things we're excited about is the growing part of southern Fayette County, being able to get to areas faster,” said Director of Streets and Roads Rob Allen.

The problem is the new salt barn, which holds 7,000 tons, has hardly been put to use.

“We're asking for less money for salt. We haven't used a fraction, well probably about 15% of what we'd use in a normal year - we've only had a few snow events,” said Allen.

Allen says the mild weather has actually led to savings for his department in supplies and overtime.

LEX 18 meteorologists say this winter we've had 3.8 inches of snow, when the average is 10.2 inches. We're also sitting at the third mildest winter on record in terms of temperatures.

“It's easier on equipment and the staff. It's really physically demanding to drive these big trucks, late at night, extended hours. You hit an obstacle with the plow and you feel like you've been in a train wreck,” said Allen.

Allen says one of the challenges is getting some of his new staff experienced in the snow plan – it’s one of those things you just have to do.

But it's Kentucky, and there’s still time.

“Folks need to realize of course they talk about crazy Kentucky weather; it's not time to put up the snow shovel just yet,” said Allen.

Allen says his department considers it winter through April 1st, but there still have been instances of snow events after that in Kentucky. He says they will keep an eye on the forecast and be ready for anything.