CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Thanks to an unusually mild winter, state road crews will have about $30 million extra to repair and maintain secondary roads this year.
The state Department of Transportation had set aside $57.7 million to fund its annual snow removal and ice control program. However, warmer temperatures and less-than-average snowfall meant much of that money wasn't spent.
"We have a significant portion left," state highways spokesman Brent Walker said Friday.
In fact, the department has more than half of those funds left.
Walker said $32 million worth of snow removal and ice control funds had gone unspent as of last Wednesday, when figures were last compiled.
While the department may have to make a few more payments to cover some end-of-season expenditures, Walker said the final amount should stay at about $30 million.
Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox said in mid-February he hoped to have about $20 million in leftover funds, barring any unforeseen events. He said at the time he hoped to be able to divert some of that money to much-needed secondary road repair across the state.
Those initial expectations were exceeded.
According to the National Weather Service in Charleston, the Kanawha Valley has only received 11.7 inches of snow all winter. The area received more than three times that amount — 37.1 inches — last winter.
Walker said the department is now getting ready to roll over those unspent funds to other uses.
"The money is going to be spent on secondary road improvement and repairs," he said. "The better news is that it's going to stay in the counties that had balances remaining."
Walker said that will give local district managers better control over what projects get funded and when the work will take place.