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Long, snowy winter meant MnDOT used 300,000 tons of salt on roads

The Minnesota Department of Transportation says it used nearly twice as much salt on state roads this past winter as it did the previous winter.

With 67.7 inches of snow reported in 2012-2013 at the airport, compared with 22.3 inches in 2011-12, that’s no surprise.

MnDOT’s report on the past winter says it used 304,555 tons of salt, statewide, compared with the previous season’s 154,072 tons. The 2012-13 usage was 47 percent above the five-year average.

The overall cost for snow removal, labor, equipment and materials was $90.5 million this season, up from $45.9 million spent the year before.

Steve Lund, MnDOT state maintenance engineer, said:

“Last year’s warm winter temperatures mixed with below average snowfall led to an unusual, but opportunistic 2011-12 snow and ice season for MnDOT. The department caught up on repairs to cable median barriers, guardrails, culverts and fences and jump-started crack sealing and pothole patching. We were also able to purchase some new plows, and other critical equipment needs.

“The good news is the easy winter of 2011-12 was the first in the state’s 2-year funding cycle, so we were able to leverage second-year funding for what Mother Nature threw at us during the 2012-13 season.”

MnDOT says it provides snow plowing services on 12,000 miles of state highway in eight districts.

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