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Mild Winter Could Help Wisconsin’s Summer Road Construction

Highway Commissioners In Northern Wisconsin Say Less For Plowing Would Lead To More To Fix Roads

snow plow
VTrans (CC-BY-NC-ND)  

El Niño is expected to play a role in warmer weather this winter in Wisconsin. Public workers in the northern part of the state are certainly crossing their fingers for that to be the case: They hope to put more money toward road construction.

Bayfield County highway commissioner Tom Toepfer said they’ve seen a 25 percent increase in winter road maintenance costs in the last five years. Toepfer said they’re hoping meteorologists are spot on with their winter weather forecasts.

“If the predictions are good, we’re happy. If we don’t spend our money on winter maintenance, we’re able to use that on construction activities,” he said.

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The county has more than 300 miles of road to maintain, and Toepfer said they’re falling behind.

Ashland County highway commissioner Emmer Shields said counties don’t have separate budgets for snow removal and road maintenance.

“Winter is always a major player in how much money we’re going to have the rest of the year,” he said.

Shields said savings from last winter went to maintain 15 to 20 miles of road in the county this year.