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​Winter Facts

winter by the numbers infographic
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PennDOT has budgeted $233 million for the 2020-21 winter. This is based on the average budget spent over the past five winters.

PennDOT maintains nearly 40,000 miles of state-administered roadway and 25,000 bridges, which translates to approximately 95,600 snow lane miles. Snow-lane mileage is calculated as the miles of road multiplied by the number of lanes — which means a 1-mile section of four-lane roadway would equal four snow-lane miles.

Resources available for this winter:

  • About 4,700 on-the-road workers are available to drive snowplows and other equipment.
  • About 380 trucks and their operators will be rented to assist with snow-removal operations.
  • 2,350 trucks, plows, and salt spreaders
  • 521 front-end loaders
  • 68 anti-icing trucks and 157 slide-in units
  • 47 snow blowers
  • 496 mechanics
Resources used last winter:
  • Over 486,000 tons of salt (2019-20)
  • Over 374,000 tons of anti-skid material (2019-20)

PennDOT pays an average of $68.77 per ton of salt, and about $22 per ton of anti-skid. Department forces also manufacture their own salt brine at a cost of less than 18 cents per gallon. The department has 64 facilities capable of making salt brine.

Each year, PennDOT estimates a budget for winter and spring maintenance activities. If winter operations exceed that expected budget, winter services will still continue. PennDOT will be plowing and treating state roads to keep them passable when winter precipitation strikes and we'll be fixing potholes.

During the 2019-20 winter, PennDOT spent more than $256 million to keep Pennsylvania highways free of snow and ice. Last winter's expenditures included:

  • $110 million - salaries and wages
  • $11.5 million - rented equipment
  • $60.7 million - winter materials (salt and anti-skid)
  • $14 million - municipal agreements and contracts
  • $60 million - other winter expense (department equipment cost)

This winter, PennDOT will award approximately 655 municipal contracts to municipalities for them to clear state roads within their jurisdiction.

Last winter, PennDOT used more than 8.3 million gallons of salt brine for anti-icing roadways before a storm event and to pre-wet road salt to reduce bounce and scatter during spreading activities.

Motorists can check conditions on state-owned roadways, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles, by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information, and access to more than 1,000 traffic cameras. During winter, the public also can view the location of hundreds of plow trucks on Pennsylvania's roads through the 511PA website.

Also during the winter, the public can find plow-truck locations and details of when state-maintained roadways were last plowed. The information is made possible by PennDOT's Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) technology, which uses units in each of the roughly 2,200 department-owned and rented plow trucks to send a cellular signal showing where a truck is located.