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February 26, 2014

County seeks reimbursement for clearing snow from state roads

Cullman County is seeking reimbursement from the state for clearing snow from state highways after several inches of snow fell earlier this month.

While schools, government offices and many businesses closed after two rounds of snowfall Feb. 10-12, county road department employees were busy clearing and sanding county and state roadways. The county plans to submit the state a bill for $23,458 for using county employees and equipment to clear snow from state highways, said Gary Teichmiller, county administrator.

Total county man-hours and equipment hours for the cleanup on county and state roads were not immediately available Tuesday.

In an effort to avoid the gridlock seen in Birmingham last month, the county and Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) worked together closely during the snowfall to coordinate clearing roadways, said Cullman County Associate Commissioner Stanley Yarbrough.

“Everyone was communicating with one another the entire time,” he said. “I think it was the most productive and cooperative of a working relationship we’ve had with ALDOT since I’ve been on the commission.”

In the City of Cullman, street department employees worked to sand and clear city streets, with some crews working overnight to make road passable, said Rick Henry, street department superintendent. Henry and City Clerk Wes Moore did not have exact costs of the cleanup Tuesday but said it was not a significant expense.

The City of Hanceville employed its snow plow to clear all its city streets along with a stretch of U.S. Highway 31 and Alabama Highway 91. In all, Hanceville crews cleared around 135 miles of roadway, according to Mayor Kenneth Nail.

Between employee overtime and purchasing sand and a $600 part for the snow plow, Nail estimated the city’s cleanup cost was around a couple thousand dollars.

“I think we can handle the overtime and sand, but what’s really going to hurt us in the long-run is the cracks that will come up in our roads after all the snow and the freezing temperatures,” Nail said. “We’re looking at thousands of dollars of damage, and we’re going to need help from the state on that.”

Tiffeny Owens can be reached by email at towens@cullmantimes.com or phone at 256-734-2131, ext. 135.

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