SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It has been a long winter in South Dakota and it’s also been an expensive winter. 

According to South Dakota Department of Transportation Director of Operations Craig Smith, total winter operating expenditures were $31.1 million through March 23. 

“These costs do not include any expenses from these latest two blizzard systems,” Smith said in an email to KELOLAND News. 

On March 31, a blizzard dumped as much as 14 inches of snow in some areas, while this week’s blizzard resulted in 30 inches of snow in Hot Springs. High wind speeds and blowing snow created more visibility problems in both storms. 

There’s been more than 40 news releases from the DOT regarding closed interstates.  

Portions of Interstate 29 remained closed overnight Wednesday due to poor visibility caused by high winds and drifting snow, but reopened at 7 a.m. CT Thursday. No travel advisories remain in place for the northeastern part of South Dakota Thursday.

Heading into Fiscal Year 2023 (July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023), the DOT had a winter maintenance budget of $20.5 million for snow and ice control. Smith said due to early winter storms and inflation, the DOT requested and received approval for an additional $12.9 million to bring the FY 2023 total budget to $33.5 million.  

The DOT’s total budget for FY2023 was $1.2 million with $802,000 coming from federal funding. Much like state budgets, the winter has also strained county-level and city-level budgets. The city of Sioux Falls had a $10 million in the budget for winter and needed an additional $1.5 million.

Daniel Whipple, a Street Maintenance Supervisor for the city, told KELOLAND News a typical winter season results in roughly 6,000–7,000 truckloads of snow. This year, he says they’ve hauled around 25,000.

Minnehaha County Highway Department Superintendent Steve Groen told commissioners the winter “has arguably been the most difficult ever faced by the Highway Department.” He mentioned team member John Crittenden died while working during a storm in early January. 

According to a presentation to state lawmakers, the DOT has 5,713 total pieces of equipment with a total value of $209 million which includes 406 plow trucks, 23 tow plows and 22 graders with V-plows. 

The DOT also has 398 total buildings in the state (87 shops / labs, 11 offices, 36 cold storage, 81 storage sheds and 24 rest areas or port of entry). It has a workforce of 1,108 people including 979 full-time employees.