Milder winter changes the way state road funds used

Milder winter changes the way state road funds used

ISHPEMING — There’s been some decent snowfall happening this week, but so far, this winter has seen a lot less snow overall.

The Marquette County Road Commission is keeping busy despite having less snow to remove this year. In addition to fixing up equipment, crews can use the available time to spruce up their facilities.

“The Republic shop is getting all cleaned up, and if they get time, then they’ll go ahead and do some painting up there — so, kind of maintenance of the facilities,” said Director of Operations and Maintenance, Michael Harrington. “We always find something to do. It just might not be what we were thinking.”

A milder winter can also result in a change in the way state road funds are utilized.

“Generally, our state maintenance contract with the State of Michigan to do the highways here in Marquette County is capped at a certain amount every year, and if we don’t spend that in the wintertime, a lot of the times we will do work for them in the summertime,” said Marquette County Road Commission Engineer Manager Jim Iwanicki. “Now if we’re spending all of their winter money in the summer, that will limit the availability of our employees to work on our system — the county road system — during the summertime.”

Iwanicki noted that on the flip side, the lighter winter allows the commission to spend less of its own budget on winter, opening up opportunities to do other work through contractors to improve the county’s road system.