In the war on wintry road conditions, Chicago is going for broke.
The city has already plowed through more than half of its annual snow removal budget thanks to the 23 inches of the white stuff that fell since New Year's Eve and through the polar vortex, the Sun-Times reports.
Of the $20.3 million earmarked in Mayor Rahm Emanuel's 2014 snow removal budget, $11.2 million has already been spent, largely on salt spread for the icy streets.
Pothole repair is also taking a bite out of the budget, with Emanuel waging war on the axle-busting blights along the city streets.
The mayor's office announced Friday pothole repair crews from the Chicago Department of Transportation were getting an early start to the season and would be dispatched seven days a week through April to fill holes in roads and alleys throughout the city.
“All city departments are working to ensure our roadways are safe, and this includes repairing the many potholes that formed as a result of the 23 inches of snow we’ve had this year and the bitter cold temperatures earlier this week,” Emanuel said in a statement. “City workers have done a tremendous job plowing and salting streets and making pothole repairs in all neighborhoods to keep Chicago moving.”
City officials told CBS Chicago crews already have filled approximately 15,000 potholes in the first few days the year.
The aggressive pothole-filling plan (remember 2013's "Potholepalooza"?) comes on the heels of a report from Chicago's inspector general that found the city has missed its own deadlines for pothole repairs three years running.
The Associated Press also reports the IG's office found the city was releasing inaccurate data to the public to give the appearance of better pothole-filling performance.
Emanuel’s 2014 budget of $20.3 million for snow removal (that includes this winter and next) is identical to last year's figure which, the Sun-Times notes, came in on-budget.