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      Heavy snow plows through MDOT's winter budget

      Snow removal is taking a big bite out of MDOT's budget.

      So far this winter, the Michigan Department of Transportation 's North Region is over budget by more than 30 percent, and there is no indication that mother nature plans on slowing down anytime soon.

      In the months leading up to January, MDOT has spent more than six million dollars and there is still plenty of winter left.

      "Those first three months of the calendar year are typically among our worst," James Lake, MDOT representative said. "So we expect that the winter expenditures are going to continue."

      Right now, MDOT is more than 33 percent over budget for this time of the year.

      A t this rate , they expect to exceed both their winter maintenance budget and their contingency funds , which means less funding will be available for spring maintenance.

      "S o that means the non-safety related maintenance functions like aesthetic mowing, catch basin cleanup, non - regulatory sign replacements, and right away fence repairs ," Lake said. "T hose are things we are going to start to defer until we have additional funding."

      MDOT representatives say the budgets are running thin all around the state.

      L ast year MDOT spent $100 million on winter maintenance and in 2014 they are projecting that they will spend $117 million.

      "A t this point even if we return to the more average conditions, we are still expecting to exceed the total budget." Lake said.