Engineers stretching salt through end of winter

Engineers in Columbiana and Mahoning counties are working to make their salt supplies last through winter.
File photo from Feb. 25

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Stretching the salt supply seems to be a priority for Valley road crews as the end of winter is approaching.

But there is still the chance for plenty of snow and ice, and the need for salt remains.

The Mahoning County Engineer’s Office recently received a $40,000 shipment of salt. Pat Ginnetti said it should last through the end of winter to treat the county’s 500 miles of roads.

“Combining that with the anti-skid material helps stretch the supply because the cost is so high. We’ve got to do everything we can to make it last,” Ginnetti said.

Ginnetti says salt suppliers are being very particular about their deliveries, and scheduling them at certain times. Because of that and the supply issues, Ginnetti is constantly looking for suppliers.

“Calling other agencies to see if they have salt at a lower price that if we could piggyback off of them and maybe buy some of their salt. We are always looking to replenish our supply,” Ginnetti said.

Columbiana County is stocked through winter. They also work with suppliers in West Virginia if they need to bring in more.

“It has been an extremely bad winter. About a month ago, we started purchasing salt anywhere we could get it,” said Columbiana County Engineer Bert Dawson.

Dawson said they also bought extra salt from ODOT and a local township to help cover the county’s 170 miles of roads and about 370 bridges.

Ginnetti said beet juice and other alternatives to salt have helped offset costs. The additives are mixed with salt and brine to improve traction and melt the snow a little faster. Last year they used calcium chloride but chose not to use it this year.

“The advantage to beet juice is that it is 100 percent biodegradable. It is all natural and less corrosive,” Ginnetti said.“We are going to continue to look into alternatives.”

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