By the end of January, the Pennsylvania Transportation Department had gone through 686,000 tons of salt — more than 200,000 tons beyond the amount used in a typical year.
The storms have driven up other costs, too.
Glen Ellyn spends about $50,000 in overtime in an average year. A mild winter can drive that as low as $15,000. But this year, “we are already at $80,000,” Hansen said.
Several communities simply weren’t ready for winter to be this cruel. They ordered salt based on a typical winter.
So far, Chicago has been socked with 30 inches more snow than the 21.6 inches it usually gets by this time of year. Milwaukee has received 14 inches more than the 29.2 inches it usually sees, according to the National Weather Service said.
“After two mild winters,” said Lori Roman, president of the Salt Institute, a trade group, “the severe weather has caught a lot of people off guard.”