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DPW spent $5 million on big storm, usually spends $7 million a season

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INDIANAPOLIS — It was a wild start to 2014 for the Department of Public Works.

“Historic is what we’re going with!” said Lesley Gordon, DPW spokesperson. “It definitely was a challenge. We definitely learned some things.”

Their work during the big snow storm was criticized by many vocal drivers and some city officials, including City Councilman At-Large Zach Adamson.

“Our DPW is very skilled at many things and I’m just hoping that they’ll have that opportunity to redeem themselves in these last couple snow events,” said Adamson.

Gordon said, “This has definitely been a strenuous stretch for our team. They’re very prepared when they come into winter, but we’ve had record numbers so it’s definitely taking a toll, but we have some really great men and women that represent Indy Snow Force.”

More snow is on the way this weekend and DPW plows hit the roads at 11 a.m. Friday. Ninety plow drivers will work 12-hour shifts throughout the weekend.

“We’re still locked in at full force. We’re going to have all available drivers ready to hit the streets at a moment’s notice.”

Gordon says work is slowly easing back to so-called normal, but that doesn’t mean normal is easy.

“The same crews that plow snow also fill pot holes and do maintenance on our vehicles, so during any time we have a lull, we’ll be making sure our equipment is maintained.”

It’s also not easy to deal with the bottom line.

“There are still some calculations coming in, but the estimate right now is about $5.1 million and that’s just for the big storm that happened at the first of the year. So far, the past budgets for snow force has been about $7.3 million a season.”

Which begs the question, what now for our city streets?

“We understand there are upcoming things,” said Gordon. “We’ll have to make sure we track all our records and apply for other assistance. It will definitely be a balancing act with the budget, but we’re prepared to go into the rest of winter to make the streets safe.”

DPW is still collecting data to apply for aid.

DPW is responsible for main and secondary roads. If there are more than 6 inches of snow, DPW hires contractors for residential streets.

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