Record Snowfall Stresses Municipal Budget

Winter storms dumped record amounts of snow on the northeast this season, forcing schools to close, flights to be cancelled and public transportation delays. In addition to interrupting the lives of many, the record snowfall caused many municipals to use more salt on the roads than they had budgeted. “With this salt demand, salt prices have gone through the roof,” says Ramon Milkie, Schwarze’s regional sales manager in the northeast.

The New York Times reported that “Boston set a record for the most snow recorded in a 30-day period, with 61.6 inches by Monday morning, breaking the record of 58.8 inches set in February 1978.
“Bangor, Maine tied its own 30-day snowfall record with 53 inches, which hasn’t been seen in such a short period since 1969, the weather service said.

“The steady run of winter blasts has already sucked up more than 70 percent of New Hampshire’s Department of Transportation winter maintenance budget. Rhode Island, too, said Monday’s storm will use up what’s left of its $14 million budget for snow removal and nearly the entire salt stockpile.”

In addition to the amount of snow municipals have needed to purchase, they are spending more on manpower. “Many work long hours due to excessive snow,” says Milkie. In an interview with WPRI, Fall River Department of Public Works equipment operator Jason Desmarais said they were working 24-hour shifts. “Go home, sleep a little bit, come right back in just to keep it going.”

WPRI reported that “Fall River DPW Director Ken Pacheco says the city has plenty of salt to treat the roads, but one thing they don’t have plenty of is money. ‘Was probably over $900,000 for us to do just the blizzard. We’re probably three times over our budget right now.’”

Pacheco said there will be an overall reduction in next year’s budget to make up for the amount spent this year. New Bedford’s Mayor Jon Mitchell had similar news for WPRI, “It has not been pleasant. We have, like just about every other city in the Northeast, blown our snow budget. In recent years, we’ve budgeted about $350,000 for snow removal. We’re over $500,000 and counting at this point.”

Milkie says all of this snow has caused damage to roads, light poles and curbs as well as fire hydrants freezing and water main breaks.
“These unexpected costs might cause difficulties for municipals to purchase new equipment they may have budgeted for. And this will be extra hard on them, especially when we will see an increase in sweeping this spring, because all this damage to roads will require more road cleaning. We also expect sweeping contractors to have a full load of sweeping jobs.

Drivers should be careful to avoid potholes when sweeping. “But municipalities and contractors will not be without sweeper damage altogether. When the snow starts to melt, all that moisture will get into the already damaged roads and deteriorate the roadway surfaces even more, causing potholes everywhere. So for those contractors and municipalities out there we recommend planning ahead before a sweeping job and doing the best you can to plan ahead what lanes and areas you’ll be in, to avoid even more cost by damaging your equipment.

“We see all sorts of damage in our Reconditioning Center,” Parts and Customer Service Manager Brenda Bell says. “Sometimes parts of the sweeper are not repairable and replacing major truck or sweeper parts is necessary.”

A major problem is that many potholes look like innocent puddles right now because of all the snow melting that create excess water. So, sweeper operators don’t even realize what lies beneath until it’s too late.


“The Schwarze® Roadpatcher™ is the most efficient, consistent and versatile system available to fix these potholes. It is also the safest way to perform road maintenance because it requires only one operator who works from the driver’s position in the cab,” says Greg Heyer, vice president of sales, marketing, customer service and product management.

“The Schwarze Roadpatcher is a chassis-mounted asphalt patcher, and like Greg just mentioned, designed for a one-man patching operation,” says Raymond Massey, regional sales manager at Schwarze. “The patented boom assures for exact placement of patch material and the standard 300-gallon insulated emulsion tank and a 6.5 cubic yard aggregate hopper keep repair crews repairing streets, not traveling back and forth for supplies.”

The patching process is simple, the Schwarze Roadpatcher:

Cleans—Dust and debris is blown from the pothole by a high velocity blower. The operator is located in the cab safe from traffic and reducing the risk of potential personal injury.

Tacks—Asphalt emulsion is sprayed to seal the surface
and create a binder for the repair. A nozzle tilt allows for more efficient movement of rock when cleaning the repair and reduces rock bounce.

Fills and Compacts—Asphalt emulsion and aggregate are combined to create a quality and durable high-density repair with a 92.8 percent compaction rate based on the Strategic Highway Initiative Testing without the use of compactors.

Dry coats—The repair is topped off with aggregate to allow immediate traffic on the new surface. It has more consistent flow of aggregate than other systems. The operator can switch between two conveyor speeds for dry coating or skin patches.

KM International has a infrareds, asphalt recyclers and hot box reclaimers. “We have fostered an ongoing industry standard of quality and excellence that continually exceeds our customers’ expectations in all of our product offerings including our “Infrared” line of equipment, our Hot Box Reclaimers and our newest addition, the Asphalt Recycler. Our commitment to the design and manufacture of the highest quality asphalt maintenance equipment in the market is not just a “quote on the wall” but rather the driving force for the entire K M International team.