EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Aside from a few small snow events, it’s been a mild winter in Southern New England.
It’s nearing the end of January and the R.I. Department of Transportation (RIDOT) hasn’t had a big snowstorm to contend with.
“Reduce your speed, give yourself more time to get where you’re going, plan ahead if you see inclement weather coming, and as always, don’t drive if you’re impaired,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti said.
Gov. Dan McKee met with Alviti Tuesday morning to talk about their winter preparations, including how much the state is investing in plow truck drivers and materials.
Alviti knows Rhode Islanders understand the advice, but said it’s worth repeating each year, even if significant snow hasn’t come yet.
The forecast for Wednesday calls for snow or a wintry mix in the afternoon, with 1 to 3 inches of accumulation possible before it changes over to heavy rain. The evening commute may be impacted by slippery conditions and lowered visibility.
WATCH: Snow in Cranston (story continues below)
Next week marks the one-year anniversary of the Blizzard of ’22, which ended up being one of the biggest snowstorms to ever hit the Providence area. Snowfall totals reached 25 inches in Warren, while Attleboro and Charlestown had more than 20 inches.
Some independent plow truck drivers may not want to see that much snow at once, but they are looking forward to plowing customers’ driveways for some extra cash.
Rui Felix, the owner of New England Snow Management, said for his business, a winter contract is a winter contract, regardless of snowfall amounts.
“Paying by storm is kind of old-school. So when you get paid a seasonal contract, the less snow you have the more profitable you are, you’re getting paid and you’re not doing anything,” he said. “But our guys are eager to work. They’ve been sitting in a lull and I’m happy to get them back on the road and plowing.”
Even if Southern New England only keeps getting slushy conditions, the roads still need to be sanded, salted and cleared.
Winter preparations are all funded by the state’s operation budget. So far, there are 280 outside vendors on standby to supplement RIDOT’s fleet of 150 plow trucks.
In terms of resources, officials said the state has 75,000 tons of salt as well as 10,000 more in a reserve, with the supply to replenish when needed.
Alviti said RIDOT is looking for at least 20 more vendors to help plow if needed. Those interested can apply online.
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