Region ready for early dose of winter

Snow is forecast for some parts of New Jersey Saturday, and the state says highway crews are ready to deal with it.

After some problems clearing roads from record snowfall last winter, Transportation Commissioner Jim Simpson said New Jersey is prepared to handle the flakes this year.

“We’ve hired more contractors. We just received the first tranche of new equipment. We bought a bunch of new plows and new trucks,” Simpson said. “We spent the entire summer when we weren’t fixing other equipment to get all the equipment ready for the wintertime. Our salt is at 100 percent of capacity.”

Simpson said a new GPS system will improve communication with snow removal crews and speed their response time.

Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, PennDOT has nearly 100,000 tons of salt at the ready in the five-county, Philadelphia region.

“We’re ready to handle winter precipitation when it comes our way,” said Nick Martino,  PennDOT assistant district executive for maintenance.

Following last winter’s record-breaking snowfall in the Philadelphia region, PennDOT has set aside more than $31.8 million for winter maintenance this year in the district covering Philadelphia and Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties.

New Jersey budgets $10 million annually for snow removal but can spend more if needed to ensure public safety. Last year, the state spent nearly $50 million on snow removal efforts.

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