What happens in the winter season when the roads are at their worst? The adverse weather from ice and snow can increase operating and maintenance costs for road maintenance agencies. The same can be said for law enforcement agencies and commercial vehicle operators. Winter road maintenance actually accounts for roughly 20% of state DOT maintenance budgets! To put things into perspective, consider the fact that, every year, state and local agencies spend more than 2.3 billion dollars on snow and ice control operations. At the same time, commercial vehicle operators lose an estimated 32.6 billion vehicle hours due to weather-related congestion.
NJDOT is known as the New Jersey Department of Transportation and is charge of anything and everything that is New Jersey’s roads! Here we have a couple of important facts regarding road conditions about winter readiness:
- The NJDOT has 68 maintenance facilities statewide. They house 76 snow-fighting crews that are assigned multiple sections of responsibility all across New Jersey.
- To perform winter maintenance, NJDOT uses sodium chloride (rock salt) as the solid anti-icing material that is sometimes wetted with liquid calcium chloride solution to enhance the melting capability of the rock salt.
- NJDOT uses anti-icing techniques. Anti-icing is an approach to prevent snow and ice from bonding to the road surface. It uses timely applications of a chemical freeze point suppressant.
- NJDOT has 70 salt storage facilities statewide and can store up to 164,0003 tons of salt.
- As far as anti-icing liquid, NJDOT has a statewide storage capacity of 716,402 gallons of liquid calcium chloride and 150,703 gallons of salt brine.
- You may be wondering if NJDOT pre-treats the roads. The answer is yes – NJDOT has 12 trucks that are places statewide. These trucks are equipped to apply salt brine to the road surface prior to the start of any winter precipitation like snow or sleet. The application will lie on the road surface up to several days depending on the amount of traffic there is.
- NJDOT actually uses winter maintenance trucks for every single winter storm that occurs. If a storm produces greater than two inches of snow, this is considered a plowing event and the NJDOT would utilize its plows during that time.
- Plowing contractors are actually not sent out every time there is a storm. They are only called out as needed in areas that require snow plowing.
- You may not see a truck taking care of the road during a winter storm at all times. Depending on what location you are at, it could be two to three hours before you see a truck in that particular section.
In 2014, Princeton, New Jersey, faced a bill of approximately $1 million for emergency road repairs when snowplows cut up the roads during the winter season. A resurfacing project getting underway made things even worse on the economy with an outstanding $1.1 million; this means that $2.2 million of taxpayer money was planned to be spent on two road maintenance projects. New Jersey actually worked out to be the most expensive road maintenance in all 50 states in the USA.
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In New Jersey winter weather, there are surely impacts on productivity. If you need any more information, you could contact NJDOT through their free service, 511NJ, which is a phone and web service that consolidates traffic and transportation information. If you have become injured due to a traffic incident, you can contact MDL for more information. We are there to help you.