After a slow start to winter, TDOT preps for this week - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

After a slow start to winter, TDOT preps for this week

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - Stockpiles of salt still stand high at many TDOT (Tennessee Department of Transportation) facilities, including Region 2 headquarters in Chattanooga. 

A good number of mild days and lack of snowfall so far this winter have helped save money since the salt doesn't spoil.

"We can keep it and use it next year. Plus, it gives us more of our maintenance budget to use for things like patching potholes," explains spokesperson Jennifer Flynn. Same goes for the brine used for pre-treating roads.

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Flynn says the budget for the 24-county region is $4 million. The more of that they can save the better.

"Last year our supplies were dwindling," recalls Flynn. "Our workers were working around the clock, practically, to keep everything open and running."

A snow-free winter, or at least close to it, means less replenishing of supplies and less overtime paid. This saves taxpayers money in the long run.

It also means crews are more likely to finish projects on time, like the Highway 27 expansion which is almost complete. They've also been able to start new projects on Apison Pike and in Bradley County.

"A lot of times they would have had to stop or suspend work because of bad weather," says Flynn.

While TDOT says keep the snow away, students at Red Bank High School say bring it on, like sophomore Shay Hughes and junior Shane Feeney.

"Me, personally, yeah. I like being out of school," says Hughes with a chuckle.

"Compared to last year when we had snow all over the ground and the freezing, it's a little disappointing," says Feeney.

Even some teachers wouldn't mind a bit of the white stuff, as long it's a one shot deal.

"I think if you're in education you love snow," says Red Bank history teacher Jeff Scott. "But if we get a lot of snow days, it kind of makes the whole semester choppy."

But for Rocky Stevens, father of a ninth grader at Red Bank, it can make things difficult if the kids are let out and the buses can't run.

"I don't really look forward to it because of the driving. But if it snow, it snows," says Stevens.

Whether you want snow or not, take groundhog Chattanooga Chuck's prediction of six more weeks of winter with a grain of salt.

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