02/19/2015 12:10 EST | Updated 04/21/2015 05:59 EDT

Nova Scotia's snow removal cost projected to be $9 million over budget

HALIFAX - Snow clearing costs in Nova Scotia could be as much as $9 million over budget by the end of the winter based on the latest government estimates.

Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan says about $40 million of the $58 million that was budgeted to clear roads and highways has already been spent with the total cost for the season now expected to hit $67 million.

MacLellan says storms that brought heavy snow and ice saw about $7 million of the budget spent in the last week alone.

In the last three weeks, he says the department has also had to bring in more private-sector contractors, which has added to the cost.

MacLellan says if extra money is needed it would likely be from a new appropriation and would not come from existing programs in his department.

The province spent $70 million to clear snow last year.