University of Vermont Transportation Research Center

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In recent years, many states have experienced heavy burdens on their snow and ice control budgets. Increases in winter/spring precipitation results in increased costs to state DOTs for winter roadway maintenance materials (salt, sand, chemicals, etc.), plow operator time, equipment maintenance and replacement budgets, and fuel use. As state DOTs adjust to climate conditions that include not only more precipitation, but more severe and unpredictable weather events, it will become increasingly important to integrate the cost of roadway snow and ice control (RSIC) operations into their capital-project planning processes. The overall goal of this project was to support state DOTs’ operations & maintenance efforts by developing an automated method for quantifying the expected impact that new capital projects will have on RSIC operations. The effects of a new suburban roadway were found to be the most significant, requiring 266 vehicle-minutes of travel along with almost 40 minutes of additional service time or one additional fleet truck for each mile of new roadway. The results and findings of this research have implications for short-term funding allocations for RSIC operations staff and for long-term consideration of RSIC in the highway planning and design processes. The findings of this project provide defensible data for operations staff to advocate for increases in funding to offset the increased RSIC burden when a project is completed. The calculation tool created incorporates all of the results above into a MS Excel decision support platform, providing quick estimates of the monetary impact of a variety of major highway project types.