TEXARKANA — The February snow storms that wrecked havoc in Texarkana have also been rough on highway department budgets.
Texarkana received between 18 and 20 inches of snow during the two winter storms with some locations just northeast of the city receiving between 20 and 22 inches.
The first storm started on Valentines's Day and a second occurred on Feb.17
The Arkansas Department of Transportation's Southwest Arkansas District's total cost for equipment, materials and labor for the event totaled more than $1,840,000.
ArDOT spent $850,000 this year on just equipment and materials, which is "a significant increase over the previous three years," William Cheatham, district manager, said.
"For equipment and materials (not including labor) we spent $290,000 in fiscal year 2017-2018, $22,000 in 2018-2019, and $42,000 in 2019-2020," he said.
A typical winter weather season for the area would be between $100,000 and $300,000 total, Cheatham said.
From Feb.11 through 18th, ArDOT applied 138,000 gallons of liquid salt brine to primary and secondary highways and used 1,600 tons of bulk salt.
The state budgets for snow and ice operations and all of the material costs were covered, Cheatham said.
The Atlanta District of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is looking at more than $1 million in materials and labor for the week of the snow event.
"Just for the week of the event we are looking at around $1.1 million right now in materials and labor, and still have some overtime payments that haven't come through yet," said TxDOT Spokesman Marcus Sandifer.
The TxDOT district covers a nine-county area of Northeast Texas.
"We also spent somewhere around $100,000 paying contractors for helping with snow and ice removal that week. There was also much left to do after the storm. We are looking at an estimated $250,000 to $300,000 worth of repairs that have been or will be made to our highways because of the extreme weather — potholes, base failures, pavement markings, etc." Sandifer said.
Sandifer said TxDOT prepares for winter events each year by stocking up on rock salt and maintaining equipment that will be used in case of such an event.
"However, it is impossible to predict what winter will bring each year, especially in an area like ours that rarely sees measurable amounts of snow and ice," he said. "This was obviously an extremely unusual event with some locations receiving as much as 20 inches of snow and ice in two back to back storms and sub-zero temperatures to boot. This was also a winter event that affected the whole state instead of just the northern sections."