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Winter 2014 Set Record For New Jersey DOT Costs

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) - The brutal, relentless winter came with a big price tag for New Jersey in 2014.

As WCBS 880's Levon Putney reported, the cost of clearing snow and ice off the state's roads set a record this year.

Winter 2014 Set Record For New Jersey DOT Costs

"Obviously, we had a really difficult winter," New Jersey Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Schapiro said. "Worst than anything we've had in the past 15 years."

Transportation Commissioner James Simpson estimates the costs of clearing state, county and municipal roads could approach a half-billion dollars.

The state Transportation Department spent $138 million on state highways, "which is about the total of what we spent the past three years combined," Schapiro said.

The DOT dispatched crews for 50 separate storms or threats of dangerous road conditions. They used 496,000 tons of salt, nearly twice the amount needed in 2013. Crews also used 1.3 million gallons of liquid calcium chloride and almost 590,000 gallons of brine.

"Our first concern is always safety and that's our priority," Schapiro told Putney. "There's never any fear of running out of money."

It cost more than $42 million to keep traffic moving on the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway. That compares to nearly $24 million last winter.

Snow-removal costs on the Atlantic City Expressway were $2.3 million.

The DOT starts with a base amount - just over $10 million this year - and blows through it every winter to keep the roads safe as possible.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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