Mild winter means savings, clean streets in Dubuque - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Mild winter means savings, clean streets in Dubuque


This incredibly mild winter continues to add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings for eastern Iowa cities and counties. It also means road crews are able to put their efforts into tasks other than snow removal.

The streets of Dubuque are getting a good cleaning.

Street sweeper operator Steve Oberhoffer was out clearing sand and debris off Seippel Road Wednesday afternoon.

"You find wood, rocks, cigarette butts. Anything that's thrown out of the car window, we get it," Oberhoffer said.

The street sweeping has come early this year for Dubuque.

"Whenever the snow melts off the gutter line, we're out, cleaning up the streets," Oberhoffer said.

In the City of Dubuque, the Public Works Department is about $800,000 below its nearly $1.5 million winter budget. That's according to the city's street and sewer maintenance supervisor, John Klostermann.

"The light winter is definitely good for us," he said Wednesday in his office.

Money remaining in the winter budget at the end of the season will return to the streets, Klostermann said.

"That's road use tax dollars, so we use it on roads. Either we use it for asphalt repairs or asphalt overlays or general maintenance of our city streets," he said.

Dubuque County engineer Bret Wilkinson said the mild weather has saved the county about $275,000 so far in the cost of fuel, overtime and materials.

"Obviously, our roads and bridges are requiring a lot of work, and we are hoping to put as much money as we can into them, so, hopefully, some of that savings can go into seal-coating or asphalt patches. Possibly cross-road culverts and things like that," Wilkinson said.

Money isn't the only form of savings. The county is using so little road salt this year, they're still working with the materials leftover from last year. That means, at the end of this winter, there could be plenty of salt to save for next season.

Both Klostermann and Wilkinson said, they know the season is still far from over and they remain ready for winter storms. February and March, however, are typically sunnier and warmer, they said, so any snow accumulation does tend to melt faster this time of year.

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