Snowstorm costs Oklahoma about $2 million to clear roadways

Oklahoma Transportation Department road crews also helped rescue 137 stranded motorists during last week's snowstorm in western and northwestern Oklahoma.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: March 5, 2013
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The Oklahoma Transportation Department spent nearly $2 million clearing about 2,500 miles of state roads during last week's winter storm, an agency official said Monday.

The agency's road crews helped rescue 137 stranded motorists, Casey Shell, director of operations for the Transportation Department, told members of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission. One stranded motorist was found walking in the storm; it took road crews working with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol about five hours to drive 13 miles to rescue the motorist.

The agency spent $1.7 million as about 600 road crew workers worked around the clock — at times in blizzard conditions — clearing about 2,500 miles of roads in 30 counties, he said. Crews worked 22,000 hours and used 300 pieces of heavy equipment along with 5,100 tons of material.

Crews worked in 12-hour shifts until the roads were cleared.

Snowfall ranged from 5 to 22 inches in western and northwestern Oklahoma, with high winds producing drifts of 4 to 6 feet in northwestern Oklahoma, Shell said.

The storm was reported as the fifth-highest snowfall in state history.

Anticipating the winter storm, crews were mobilized from other parts of the state hours before conditions began deteriorating the morning of Feb. 25 and continued into the next night.


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