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Warm winter may save UDOT, taxpayers $8M

By Jed Boal | Posted - Mar. 3, 2015 at 9:33 p.m.

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PARLEY'S CANYON — The peak of Tuesday’s snowstorm hammered the mouth of Parley’s Canyon at a rate of a few of inches per hour during the early morning hours. Seven inches of snow alone piled up overnight in the mountains, and a few more inches hit during the morning commute.

But even if Utah has an average snowfall during the rest of winter, UDOT stands to save taxpayers $8 million from its $24 million road salt budget.

Utah hasn't seen much snow this year, and Tuesday was the largest snow day since Christmas.

"(The storm) hit pretty hard and dumped quite a bit of snow in the valley and in the mountain areas," Jake Brown, the UDOT station supervisor said.

Brown supervises nine snowplows that operate in area canyons. They started plowing in the middle of the night, and by 9 a.m. all plows were on the road.

Operating the many plow tools of the truck is extremely difficult while driving on a slippery, narrow and winding road. In the 15 years Brown has been doing this, he said the trucks have evolved into high-tech, snow fighting machines.

"You need stuff like that up here. It gives you the advantage,” Brown said.

By noon on Tuesday, the plows and the salt had done their jobs, and Utah's roads were in pretty good shape.

However, the job isn't entirely over. Some of the crews will be back at it early Wednesday morning to identify and remedy black ice areas.


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