GREAT FALLS, Mont. — Officials say the cost of plowing Montana roads has been higher than average and is continuing to rise as winter weather persists.

The Great Falls Tribune reports the state Department of Transportation has spent $29 million plowing the 25,000 miles (40,000 kilometers) of roads it maintains.

Maintenance Division administrator Jon Swartz says the expenses have exceeded the average winter maintenance cost of $22.3 million.

The heavy snowfall that pounded much of the state this season has led to the department spending $2.9 million on overtime and spreading 284,000 yards (260,000 meters) of sand.

Swartz says it usually spends about $2 million on overtime and applies sand over 170,000 yards (155,000 meters).

Swartz says 40 of the 600 plow trucks have been involved in collisions, a higher than average number.

Information from: Great Falls Tribune,

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