April snowstorm expensive for road commission

ALPENA — The Alpena County Road Commision is still working to clean up damage from the snowstorm the area received two weeks ago.

Due to the snowstorm, wages have cost over $54,000, equipment over $104,000, fuel almost $18,000 for almost 8,500 gallons, and materials have cost almost $2,500 for a total of almost $179,000. Managing Director Larry Orcutt said the total cost as a result of the snowstorm will end up be over $200,000 because of culverts having to be opened up that were buried by snowbanks.

“That’s the direct cost for five days of winter maintenance and the storm didn’t stop after five days,” Orcutt said. “It started that Friday evening and was here through Wednesday and we were still dealing with it at the end of last week.”

The road commission has not been billed for the wrecker bills and major repair costs because of the snow storm. Orcutt said it’s hard to quantify the drainage issues that have taken place since the storm due to the amount of the snow the area got.

“The underlying water table throughout the county definitely contributes to deteriorating of both paved and gravel roads,” he said.

Orcutt said some truck crews worked over 20 hour shifts trying to keep the roads open.

“All of our employees put in considerable effort to do the best they could with the resources we have to get roads opened as soon as we could,” he said. “Our mission the first couple of days was to try and get through everything that we could.”

In terms of the budget, Orcutt said he hasn’t looked into where the road commission stands for winter maintenance due to the snowstorm. Finance Director Julie Patterson will be doing a budget status at the road commission’s meeting in June that will include everything from the winter, Orcutt said.