ODOT to Help Communities With Salt Shortage

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RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Ohio – Day after day, snow trucks in Richmond Heights load up on salt. They have to be careful how much they use though; the city’s supply is slowly shrinking.

"It's been very hard. I've been around for many years, and this is one of the tougher ones I would say,” said Service Director Donald Lazar.

He said their salt deliveries are late, and that’s causing big problems when it comes to clean-up.

"Right now, I think in my bin, we can probably carry about 1,000 tons of salt. I think we're going to about 400 tons of salt,” he said. “But, that won't last long for the way the weather has been. We could eat that up in a couple of storms.”

In the meantime, he told his drivers to ration their supply. Only intersections, main roads, and hills will be salted -- no side streets.

"We have to watch what we’re doing when we put the salt down. That's the bottom line. So there'll be a lot of plowing and less salting until the situation changes,” said Lazar.

That situation could change sooner than expected. ODOT launched a plan to help communities in need. Spokesman Steve Faulker, from Columbus, explained how it will work.

"What ODOT is doing is putting out a new contract that other salt companies can bid on that'll provide salt in some strategic locations,” he said. “So hopefully in a couple of weeks, those cities can take their trucks and fill up with some salt as needed to take care of their winter they have."

He said they’re targeting seven counties around Ohio. Two of them include Cuyahoga and Medina.

"ODOT's doing this at no cost to them. All we ask is that they give us a little bit of salt later this winter or this summer when new supplies emerge,” he said.

Many cities dealing with salt shortages ordered through Morton Salt.

Here’s a statement issued to FOX 8 from Morton earlier this week:

“Within the last month or so, customer orders for road salt have surged. The high demand for salt can delay deliveries as we try to balance the needs of our customers. We’re exploring all options to replenish their salt supplies as quickly as possible, such as running extended hours of operation at our production sites and stockpiles to accelerate shipments.”

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