Slow start to winter frees budget for pothole repairs in Chicago

CHICAGO (WLS) -- It's been a slow start to the winter season for hardware stores and snow plow drivers, but the upside to this dry weather is that city pothole crews are already out to work.

Because of the dry weather and an influx of $10 million in funding, CDOT crews were already spotted filling potholes on the city's North Side Friday afternoon. It's something they couldn't do this time last year because of the "snowmageddon".

Last year, the Chicago Department of Transportation filled 920,000 potholes. We'll see what 2015 brings, but hopefully there won't be as many with wintery weather off to a slower start.

At this time last year, snow plow drivers were buried in snow and money. There was plenty of work to be done with more than 20 inches of snow. This season, it has been slow for them and other businesses but this weather is helping city crews to fix Chicago's bumpy roads.

It's January 2, and Mike Schwartzer is buying his first bucket of salt for the winter season.

"I'm just getting some salt for one of my rental properties. I saw some bad weather coming up and I thought I'd better get some stuff done," Schwartzer said.

At Home Depot, managers say sales for snow-related items have been sleepy, but that could change this weekend after a wintry mix rolls in.

"Most people don't come in and buy until the snow gets here. Now, if we get snow this weekend we will sell salt but other than that we hold off on it," said Joseph Mosley, Home Depot.

At the private snow plowing company The Snow Innovators, business was hasn't been anything like it was this time last year, when we had about 23 inches for the season.

"Not as busy as last year. Last year started and never stopped," Gibbons said.

They have, however, had calls for salting, and say they are prepping for this weekend's ice and snow.
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