Winter storms raise City, County road costs - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/23/10

Winter storms raise City, County road costs

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Overnight Wednesday, the City of Lubbock will have eight trucks out salting roadways so they're less treacherous during your morning commute. But with such an active winter storm season, and so much road work to be done, how does all that material and labor affect the City and County budgets?

Here's a breakdown of those numbers for you. Monday's storm was the fourth big storm of this season, and that's costing the City of Lubbock to pay the workers for overtime, and suppliers for salt and magnesium to make the roads safe.

The City of Lubbock Street Department says in the 2008 - 2009 budget, it paid $5,225 in overtime to street workers. From October to February 21st - that number is nearly seven times higher. One reason is during that first snow storm, workers were pulling 24 hour shifts to keep roadways clear on Christmas Eve.

In 2008-2009, the City used just under 300 cubic yards of salt. This year salt use has already topped one thousand cubic yards.

And last year's Street Department used 18,000 pounds of magnesium chloride. But in just the four months in this fiscal year, the City has already used more than 4 times that or 79,000 pounds.

What about County roads? Nick Olenik with Lubbock County says the County has more than 1,100 miles of roads. Of that, roughly 900 miles are dirt roads.

It takes five days, using 18 trucks to grade all the dirt roads after a winter storm. Usually, they have to grade each road twice. If a winter storm ruins a caliche road it costs $30,000 per mile to replace, and $200,000 per mile of asphalt to replace.

The County's road budget comes from vehicle registration fees. Of every vehicle registered in Lubbock County, $10 goes to County roads.

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