The particularly icy winter season has caused the public works department to go over budget on its road salt and sand usage for the 2018-19 winter season.
Operations manager Randy Alemy said the town has had to get additional funding for both salt and sand: The town initially budgeted $16,000 for sand and has spent $24,000 already this year. Additionally, $123,000 was budgeted for salt and the town has spent $139,000.
Alemy said the town had to increase its budget due to the unusual winter weather that Vermont and the whole eastern region has seen so far this year. He explained the town has seen fewer large-scale snow events and instead has had to deal with constant thawing and freezing due to fluctuating temperatures.
“Early on we saw a lot more ice, well, this whole winter we’ve seen more ice than usual,” he explained. “We’re having to reapply sand on dirt roads multiple times after storms, same thing with the salt.”
The thawing and freezing cycle has also increased the appearance of potholes on municipal roads, he added.
“We’re coming up into the spring thaw so potholes are going to continue to be an issue,” Alemy said. “We do our best to do temporary filling with cold patch material, and once the asphalt plants open up sometime, usually mid-to-late April, we’ll be able to go out and start making some more permanent patch repairs.”
Deputy town manager Geoffrey Urbanik agreed it’s been “a roller coaster” of a winter with the thawing and freezing of snow and ice, but said most of Colchester’s potholes have been pretty shallow and easy to manage so far.
“We’ve done a lot of work [on the potholes] but it’s something we always keep an eye out for,” he said.
He added that residents can call the public works department to report any potholes on municipal roads to be fixed.