The city finally got a 350-ton shipment of rock salt Thursday, just in time for today’s storm.
But it is already going fast, and city crews have switched to a mixture of salt and stone chips to stretch out the limited supply, Commissioner of General Services Carl Olsen said.
Olsen said this is the kind of storm that uses up a lot of salt. Snow is expected to fall for 20 hours, requiring city plows to spread salt repeatedly.
To keep the city from running out before the storm ends, workers treated the roads with salt before the snow, then switched to the mixture. They will go back to straight salt near the end of the storm if the roads get too slippery, Olsen said.
“We have enough to get us through this storm. I don’t have any to waste,” Olsen said. “Now we have to worry about the next storm.”
Olsen said he needs a minimum of 300 tons of salt to de-ice city streets during a minor storm. A big storm can use as much as 1,200 tons.
Since spring is still weeks away, Olsen said he has already asked for more salt, but Cargill, the city’s supplier, is several orders behind. Olsen said the company, which supplies many municipalities in the area, just doesn’t have the resources to keep up with all the salt orders this year.
“It’s been a very heavy usage year for salt,” Olsen said.
Cargill officials have not returned repeated calls for comment.
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