Mild winter could extend PennDOT budget into summer

With a winter maintenance budget of $1.3 million and $2 million for Elk and McKean counties, respectively, Greg Sayers, PennDOT (Pa. Department of Transportation) county maintenance manager for the two counties, said he is prepared to battle Jack Frost nipping at the roads and bracing himself and his team for what he knows firsthand to be an often- unpredictable season. While the season has been off to a remarkably mild start with above-average temperatures and below-average snowfalls throughout the area, Sayers said he hesitates to entertain notions of "winter savings," or leftover portions of the budget that result from an uneventful winter, minimal maintenance and less man hours and use of department supplies. In this situation, the "winter savings" could in turn be applied by the department to additional road maintenance projects come summer that PennDOT "wouldn't necessarily have had the money for otherwise," Sayers said. Sayers said he is "guardedly optimistic" on the subject of winter savings, adding that while mild so far, the end of winter can often bring with it the most dramatic weather and additional expenses.