By Portia Williams
GREENUP, KY. —In an effort to ensure each county has enough salt to handle any more snow or ice this winter, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet urge crews to conserve salt supplies. Severe weather has wrought record numbers of salt dissemination nationwide.
According to KYTC, it has less than 70,000 tons of salt on hand statewide, and says that amount tends to be more than enough for the rest of the season. To level supplies, salt has been shifted among highway districts and the state’s emergency reserve has been tapped.
Allen Blair, KYTC District 9 public information officer, said the districts are complying with conservation requests.
“Yes, the salt supply is critical, and that is what has prompted statewide for all us to look at conservation efforts,” Blair said. We’ve put down 25, 000 tons district-wide for our 10 counties this year, and that’s quite a lot. We are all trying to conserve, so that we may be prepared just in case another storm does come. This is March however, in the past we have seen storms in March that have rivaled the worst winter storms of decades,” he said.
Blair said the current salt supply in District 9 is around 6,000 tons, which is a really low number. He said 2,000 tons of salt is is what is used typically for a storm.
“Last year we had minimal snow, compared to even the previous years. It kind of goes up and down, last year we used less salt than typical, and then this year we used more quite a bit more than is usual,” he said.
He said the continued recurrence of ice this season different from storms in times past.
“What we have ran up against with this last storm, was the fact that we have had such an icy storm this year that has led to several days worth of trying to remove the snow and ice. In the past we’ve had quite a lot of small storms, where we would get it all off the roads within a day or two, but this time we hit a three-day storm. It’s all different each year,” he said.
Blair said the District 9 begins preparation for the winter weather in October each year.
“Our typical snow and ice season starts in October. That is where we start preparing for the snow, and we have our supervisors and our engineers on call and they stay on call through early April,” he said. “We always start with a lot of salt with some plans, and as we go forward through the winter we adjust.”
KYTC has ordered more than 90,000 tons of salt, and shipments are expected in coming weeks.
According to KYTC, national salt shortage, delays in salt deliveries and wave after wave of winter storms have hampered the cabinet’s snow and ice removal efforts. The cabinet has ordered more than 90,000 tons of salt, and shipments are expected in the coming weeks. As salt deliveries trickle in, the cabinet has implemented conservation methods to preserve supplies.
- During a wet snow with moderate temperatures (25 degrees and warmer), crews should be able to rely strictly on plowing operations to combat accumulation on roadways. Once the snowfall has ended and it is daylight, crews can begin light applications of salt in the cleanup phase.
- Reducing application rates when applying salt. In most cases, an application rate of 180-200 pounds of salt per 2-lane mile would be sufficient during cleanup efforts. The customary application rate would be 250-400 lbs of salt per 2-lane mile.
- On lower priority routes, where possible, crews can blend sand or small aggregates with the salt to extend supplies. In most cases, crews have to rely on plowing operations and warming temperatures to completely clear these routes.
KYTC officers said the cabinet has used more than 410,00 tons of salt statewide this season.
Portia Williams can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 286, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.