With snow creeping into the forecast, many cities are checking their salt supplies and gearing up for what could be the first snowfall of the season. Last winter was so snowy for so long, some cities ran dangerously low on road salt.
“Every city was hit hard with ice and snow and salt was at a premium. This year, we are loaded and ready for the first event,” said John Becker, superintendent of public works for the city of Shaker Heights.
Becker said, right now, the city’s salt barn is stocked with about two thousand tons of salt, enough to handle several snowstorms.
“We’ve averaged sometimes up to nine thousand tons in a really rough season, to three or four thousand, so we try to balance it, it’s a hit or miss,” he said.
An ODOT spokeswoman said that although the state is paying more for salt this year, their salt domes are also stocked and ready to go, as well as the communities that joined in with them on the bid for salt.
Because last winter was so harsh, salt suppliers had a tough time keeping up with demand, and many cities were desperate to find salt.
A representative from Morton Salt told FOX 8 they are operating at full capacity to supply their customers.
Cargill Salt said their customers should also be in good shape; crews have even been working weekends at their three mines since the summer.
But because of the high demand, salt prices are up: Shaker Heights paid $51 per ton this year, compared to $29 a ton last year.
John Becker said the city has taken steps to avoid a salt shortage this year.
“We’ve joined forces with other municipalities in a consortium. On top of that, we’re also with ODOT through the state bid, so we have two measures or means of getting salt here with the city of Shaker Heights,” said Becker.
Shaker Heights has also purchased two de-icing tankers, so they can apply a solution to the roads before having to use salt.
Morton Salt told us they are also bringing in salt from overseas to meet demand.