Ontonagon County County Road Commission on track with budget through winter months

Published: Feb. 14, 2020 at 11:18 PM EST
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Throughout the duration of the winter season the Ontonagon County Road Commission has been working hard to keep the streets clear for travel.

"It's been pretty much the usual. Overall I think we've been a little light on snow, but we've had more rain. It's been kind of an up and down winter, but still costly," said Mike Maloney, Engineer Manager for the Ontonagon County Road Commission.

A big part of the costs so far have been related to the dates when the area got the most snow.

"Three of our big storms were Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's. We had a lot of double time or time and a half with the employees. The costs have gone up, but the snowfall is down so on an average year it's kind of right in there," added Maloney.

While a lack of snow can be good for road conditions, for an area whose economy relies heavily on winter tourism, it can have some negative effects.

"I'd say it's a big part, we don't have a lot of industry anymore, so anything we can get helps," said Rich Ernest, Secretary for the Ontonagon County Chamber of Commerce.

However despite the relative lack of snow, the amount of winter tourists and snowmobilers hasn't gone down.

"I don't see it. We had a mild month, but we still had enough snowfall, a few inches here and there, to keep enough for the trails. It's been pretty good from what I could see," added Ernest.

With winter slowly but surely winding to an end, the spring time can bring more issues for the area.

"We're looking at temperatures near 40 next week, so it might be a long pothole season. We have the patch for it, but a patch is a patch so we'll do the best we can with what we have," said Maloney.

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