Salt supplies short after storm

SALEM, Ohio (WKBN) – Communities across the Valley are still short on their salt supply.

With one of the roughest winters in years, the salt supply company said they’re running behind with production.

The city of Salem has been conserving salt for the past three weeks. Salem Service-Safety Director Ken Kenst said the city has not received all of the salt supply it is contracted to get.

As a result, road crews are being very picky about which streets they salt. Kenst said they are doing intersections, hills, curves and busy school areas.

But Salem is in better shape than some communities because it has enough to last through another storm. Road crews also have started stretching the salt by adding gravel to it.

“We usually have a 20 percent addition to it. Now we’re going with like 40,” Kenst said.

Morton Salt is the supplier for most of the municipalities in northeast Ohio. The company said because of the severe winter season across the country, demand for road salt has increased dramatically, and the company has extended its hours of operations at production sites to fill orders.

Morton Salt representatives also said the high demand also has  impacted when they can make deliveries. The company is working to speed up shipments to customers.

The Ohio Department of Transportation is one of the company’s largest customers. ODOT District 4 has about 62,000 tons left to cover its six-county district.

“As a district, that takes us to just below 50 percent of what our total full capacity can be. Motorists need not worry. We take the safety of the motoring public very seriously and we’ll do everything in our power to make sure those roads stay safe,” said ODOT spokesman Brent Kovacs.

Meanwhile, local governments might get some help soon replenishing their dwindling road salt supplies.

ODOT is nearing its purchasing limit on four contracts negotiated last summer with suppliers to provide the salt for the state and for local governments.

The Columbus Dispatch reported Wednesday that the state is trying to negotiate new deals, asking salt companies to bid on a set of new contracts that could make an additional 150,000 tons available to local governments across the state.

The new supplies could reach salt barns across the state within two weeks.

 The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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