Snow a drain on cities' budgets

Snow a drain on cities' budgets

By this week, Champaign-Urbana had received about 40 inches of snow — well above the 24 or so it gets between mid-November and mid-March in an average year. The tally already puts this winter in the top 10 snowiest seasons on record, and it will only fortify that rank with this weekend's expected snowfall.

That also taxes the cities' snow removal resources, and they've well overspent their budgets this winter simply because of the heavy snow.


— $19,000: How much each inch of snow costs. Materials like salt account for 60 percent of that. Labor is about 30 percent and equipment is 10 percent.

— 10: City officials have re-budgeted and hope they don't see more than this many inches of snow before the spring thaw.

— 4,900: How many tons of salt the city has used — 48 percent more than the 3,300-ton average for a typical winter.

— 719: Snow removal crews are responsible for this many "lane miles" of road (a one-mile segment of a two-lane road is two lane miles).

— 168: How many tons of asphalt mix the city has bought to fix the streets. That's good for about 13,600 potholes.


— 5,000: Hours city employees have spent on snow removal — 3,000 of those were overtime. They've worked 11 weekends since November, and some employees have gone multiple weeks without a single day off.

— 10,150: How many cubic yards of snow the city has hauled away from downtown and campus parking lots and meters.

— 1,850: The tonnage of salt that crews have spread on city streets. That doesn't include nearly 11,000 gallons of liquid chemicals they've used to melt ice.

— 42: Weather events that required some kind of city response. That's 43 days with precipitation and 18 nights with subzero temperatures.

— 27: Street signs damaged by vehicles. Cars have also damaged eight light poles and three traffic signals.

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