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Repaving and other road maintenance projects could be delayed due to the high cost of snow removal and road treatment costs this winter.

Even before this week’s light snowfall, the Virginia Department of Transportation had exceeded its snow removal budget for the year.

As of mid-March, VDOT has spent an estimated $350 million on snow removal, about $200 million more than it had budgeted for this winter, said spokeswoman Tamara Rollison. Bills are still coming in that could add to the tab, she added.

Snow removal is only one piece of the agency’s $1.8 billion maintenance budget, but the higher than expected costs will lead to some “belt-tightening,” Rollison said.

This could include extending the completion dates for several paving projects, limiting overtime and the use of contracts, and delaying equipment purchases.

It will not stop VDOT from treating and clearing roads, patching potholes or dealing with other safety issues.

“We will do that in a way that will not impact motorists.” Rollison said.

The wet weather and temperature fluctuations this winter have also created VDOT’s next big maintenance challenge: a large number of potholes.

Rollison said crews have been repairing potholes throughout the winter, but that “we do expect a siginificant pothole season” this spring.

VDOT urges drivers to report potholes to 1-800-FOR-ROAD or using the “Work Request” form available online at virginiadot.org.

kschumitz@fairfaxtimes.com