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Montana snowplowing costs rise as winter weather continues

April 12, 2018

FILE - In this Monday Feb. 26, 2018, file photo provided by the Montana Department of Transportation, crews work to clear Secondary Highway 464 north of Browning, Mont. Through April 1, the department spent $29 million plowing the 25,000 lane miles of road it maintains across the state, which is 30 percent above the average of $22.3 million and there's still another winter storm headed for the state this weekend. (Montana Department of Transportation via AP,File)

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — Officials say the cost of plowing Montana roads has been higher than average and is continuing to rise as winter weather persists.

The Great Falls Tribune reports the state Department of Transportation has spent $29 million plowing the 25,000 miles (40,000 kilometers) of roads it maintains.

Maintenance Division administrator Jon Swartz says the expenses have exceeded the average winter maintenance cost of $22.3 million.

The heavy snowfall that pounded much of the state this season has led to the department spending $2.9 million on overtime and spreading 284,000 yards (260,000 meters) of sand.

Swartz says it usually spends about $2 million on overtime and applies sand over 170,000 yards (155,000 meters).

Swartz says 40 of the 600 plow trucks have been involved in collisions, a higher than average number.

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Information from: Great Falls Tribune, http://www.greatfallstribune.com

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