Road Salt

Montgomery County purchased 13,000 tons of road salt last winter, up from a usual average of 10,000 pounds.
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

It’s been a warm December, and that’s great news for Ohio counties paying high prices for road salt; the cost for many has doubled or tripled after a shortage last winter.

Jerry Kenney

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio officials have approved spending another $2 million on road salt to replenish supplies used during the long, snowy winter.

The state Controlling Board on Monday granted the request from the Ohio Department of Transportation was for more than $2 million to buy about 30,000 tons of salt from Cargill De-Icing Technology Inc. and Morton Salt Inc. 

Documents show the state is paying about $73.88 per ton for 20,000 tons from Cargill, and $56.75 a ton for another 10,000 tons from Morton.

snow, snow plow, transportation
Brian Bull, WCPN

Polar vortexes, lengthy cold snaps, blasting windchills…essentially it’s been a winter wonderland turned arctic nightmare for many in Ohio, especially motorists.

ODOT spokesman Steve Faulkner says he’s been tracking his department’s efforts to keep highways and streets clear and safe since the first snow event in mid-October.  Flash-forward to late March, and what do state road crews have to show for it?

A spokesman says the Ohio Department of Transportation may end up using nearly twice as much road salt this season as it typically does for an average winter.

Spokesman Steve Faulkner says the agency uses 630 thousand tons of salt in an average winter. It had nearly that much on hand in October, before what has been an unusually cold, snowy season.

Wikimedia Commons

As the Miami Valley continues to get pummeled with winter storms, the near-record amount of snow and ice creates multiple problems for public works departments.

“We’ve been pretty much doing winter since the middle of November, and every other week we’ve been dealing with a snow, or snow and ice event,” said Fred Stovall, Dayton’s Public Works director.

Snow plow
Flickr Creative Commons User Derrick Coetzee

Local governments in Ohio might get some help soon replenishing their dwindling road salt supplies.

The snow started early in Ohio and hasn't stopped yet, leading to a shortage of salt for treating roads. The Ohio Department of Transportation is nearing its purchasing limit on four contracts negotiated last summer with suppliers to provide the salt for the state and for local governments.