Early snowfall impacts county budgets

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Wis (WMTV) -- Columbia County Highway Officials said the early snowfall means a delay in construction and tapping into the winter budget early.

"The weather has really caused a lot of issues," Chris Hardy, Columbia County Highway Commissioner said.

Mother Nature dished out a surprise, and it’s early snowfall. Some highway departments are feeling the pinch.

"So trying to get our workload done and get ready for the winter has been a bit of a challenge," Hardy said.

Columbia County highway officials said the late snow fall from earlier this year hit their winter budget hard with additional labor costs and materials to keep the roadways salted and safe. This time around with the premature flurries, they're trying to stay afloat

"We were running heavy from last year. We had a lot of late snow in the spring last year which created some issues so we did make some adjustments," Hardy said.

Highway officials said they cut back on the construction budget to offset costs, but the wintry weather is costing them.
Summer construction is still an ongoing project and officials said the weather is creating delays.

“We were still paving asphalt on Monday doing ditch work we have a lot of trucks and a lot of guys doing that work. So it's a matter of getting everything retooled to deal with winter weather," Hardy said.

Highway officials said their main priority is to keep the roads clear of snow to keep them safe, but it's important that drivers do their part.

"Give yourself sometime in the morning. Give yourself some time at night. Drive a little bit slower. If you have a plow truck in front of you give the guy a little bit of room so he can do his job which gets you to where you're going a lot faster," Hardy said.

NBC15 reached out to Dane County and Rock County to see if the early snowfall was affecting their departments, but we have not heard back.