Winter racks up overtime costs

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — This winter continues to go down in the record books, and not just because of the amount of snow.

The Ohio Department of Transportation and municipalities throughout the state have paid out record amounts in overtime pay. Those numbers could put some upcoming road construction projects on hold.

From Oct. 1 through Wednesday, ODOT has paid out more than $13 million in overtime pay for snow and ice removal. Last year, the agency spent about $9.8 million on overtime costs.

ODOT covers 88 counties throughout the state. Snow plow drivers in many locations have been working 12-hour shifts.

“When we look at the sheer number of snow and ice events we’ve had throughout Ohio this year, it’s going to push that overtime total up just a little bit. And that’s what we’re seeing this year too. It’s been a pretty hard winter. And our guys are definitely experiencing that and they’re putting in the time needed in order to get the snow and ice off the roads,” said Steve Faulkner, a spokesman for ODOT.

Municipalities throughout the Valley also have seen an increase in overtime pay.

Mahoning County has paid out $67,000 so far in overtime. Columbiana County is at $82,000. And Trumbull County is leading the pack at $132,000.

Trumbull County Road Superintendent Gregg Alberini said the county spent $45,000 in overtime in December alone. That number rose to $48,000 in January. And so far in February, Trumbull County has spent $23,000 in overtime with 16 days left to go.

These large amounts of overtime payouts could affect spring and summer road projects.

Alberini said it has not affected anything so far in Trumbull County.

“The engineer’s office probably planned for that,” he said.

But Columbiana County already is talking about holding off on some paving projects next summer.

And ODOT said while it might have to consider postponing some of their smaller jobs until next year, they will definitely be completing their larger, highly needed projects.

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