AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Since mid-December, Maine has been hit by a series of storms, and each one costs the Maine Department of transportation roughly one million dollars to clean-up before, during and after.
"We've had these cold snaps followed by warm snaps," lamented Dale Doughty. "A mixture of rain, sleet and snow."
"It has been two or three day events, three or four days apart and the crews are tired but they are hanging in there," he added.
Doughty, the DOT's director of maintenance and operations, says they have already plowed through about half of their winter operations budget, but we are only about a third of the way through the plowing season.
"It has kind of been an equal opportunity winter across the state," he said.
The DOT uses 375 pieces of heavy equipment to remove snow and put down salt and sand along the 8,400 miles of roads they maintain. So far this year, Doughty estimates they have made roughly 100 trips along each mile of road totaling an astounding 800,000 miles plowed - nearly half of the 1.7 million miles they plow in an average winter.
He says not each storm is created equal. The recent ice storm for instance required crews to use five times the normal amount of salt they would use during a normal snowstorm.
"That storm alone was really, some winters, it might have been a three or four week's worth of effort all expended within three, four or five days," explained Doughty.
He is hoping that the weather will give crews, their equipment and their budget a break.
"[I'm] a little bit anxious," he admitted. "A good thing is you look at the weather going forward from today and it looks like we are going to get a little bit of a break, and you know a weeks break is one or two storms. A storm costs us about a million dollars, so if we get a week or two weeks break, that is a couple million dollars."