As much as the easy winter pleased highway officials by yielding savings, others can’t wait for a tougher winter: plowing contractors.
“Those guys will be eager,” Russell said. “That’s their bread and butter.”
Of the 70 pieces of plowing equipment on Salem roads, 43 are contracted.
McCartney said Windham uses 14 to 18 contractors, depending on the storm.
He points out plowing isn’t the main source of income for many contractors, but rather a sideline.
“It’s not like you can bank on it,” McCartney said.
Boynton said DOT uses private contractors in the Interstate 93 corridor in Southern New Hampshire, though the number has been reduced in recent years because of environmental restrictions designed to protect the watersheds.
Special equipment is needed to treat the highway due to those restrictions.
“The hired trucks typically are not interested in the investment in those systems for something that they just do as side work,” Boynton said.
“We have actually moved state trucks and personnel from other areas to cover the gaps.”