Rachel A.K. / Flickr

Record Spending on Snowy and Icy Roads in Oklahoma

  • Joe Wertz

Rachel A.K. / Flickr

The State of Oklahoma spent more than $14.6 million last year to remove snow and ice from state roads and highways, Department of Transportation data show.

Total spending on equipment, materials and labor in Fiscal Year 2011 was the highest it’s ever been, said DOT spokesman Cole Hackett.

“It’s definitely the most we’ve spent,” he said.

Cost of Snow and Ice Removal on State Roads and Highways


About half of the Department of Transportation’s annual snow and ice tab is spent on sand, salt, anti-icing liquid and other “material” costs, data show. Last year, that amounted to about $7.8 million.

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Oklahoma has about 140,000 tons of sand and salt stored at 110 sites around the state, Hackett said. For backup, the state has about 35,000 tons of sand, which was brought in two years ago by barge and is stored near the Port of Catoosa.

Under most circumstances, the DOT is only responsible for clearing state roads, interstates and U.S. Highways.

Labor and equipment costs make up most of the rest of the department’s snow and ice removal budget. Labor costs include overtime hours for drivers and department personnel; equipment costs include fuel, truck and tractor maintenance, as well as specialized plow, scraper and spreader attachments for trucks, Hackett said.

Frosty weather is costly.

Most of Oklahoma’s disaster spending stems from severe winter storms. From 2007-2010, $27 million of $31 million in state disaster reimbursements came from blizzards and ice storms, Emergency Management data show.

Cost Breakdown of Snow and Ice Removal

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