Sometimes prudence pays off, with a little assist from Mother Nature. So it has this spring for West Virginians who are reaping a two-fold reward for the mild winter in most of the state.
Last year, the state Division of Highways set aside $57.7 million for snow and ice removal during the 2011-12 winter months. That sounds like a lot of money, and it is. But DOH officials, aware of some predictions calling for heavy snowfall, were right to ensure plenty of resources were available to keep Mountain State motorists safe.
Lo and behold, Mother Nature was kind to us. Not a single major snowfall was recorded. Temperatures were relatively mild. And the DOH didn't have to spend about $30 million of the amount set aside.
That means the agency can pave more roads - lots more - than it had planned this summer. Funding for about 180 miles of repaving had been budgeted. The $30 million windfall (no pun intended) may allow an additional 300 miles to be added to the schedule.
Another benefit of the milder-than-normal winter was lack of damage to roads from freezing and thawing. There seem to be fewer potholes this spring than last. In effect, the DOH will have more money available to take care of less winter damage.
That is a very, very good thing for Mountain State residents.
Again, DOH officials were absolutely right to set aside $57.7 million for snow and ice removal. The winter very well could have been a harsh one. Now, we can enjoy the benefits of repaving more roads than had been expected - and that, in turn, will make it better for motorists and the DOH next winter.