February 22, 2008

Short on salt

Dryden Highway Superintendent Jack Bush is quoted in an article this morning about a shortage of road salt from Cargill's Lansing mine:

With 1-3 inches of snow being predicted for today by the Cornell Northeast Regional Climate Center, Dryden highway superintendent Jack Bush said residents shouldn't expect every street to be bare.

"If all the temperatures are colder, where we don't have 32 degrees and sunny weather, the roads aren't going to be bare, especially in the shaded areas," he said.

Bush ordered 200 tons of salt from Cargill last week and got 90 tons. He borrowed an additional 16 tons from Lansing, where Cargill is located. Lansing is in good shape for salt, highway superintendent Jack French said, as it picked up 1,000 tons last Thursday. James Meeker in Ulysses said he ordered 400 tons and has only seen 40 tons....

Cargill mine manager Steve Horne said the salt shortage is an industry-wide problem this winter from the Midwest to the Northeast....

Instead of salting some roads, towns use sand, which comes at a fraction of the cost of salt, but becomes a mess in the spring and requires cleanup.

Bush said in Dryden there are some roads where sand is used exclusively.

I think the Town is working on a salt storage shed this year, which might make it easier for Dryden to deal with unreliable supply.

There's a possibility that villages might see more state aid next year. The chart in the print edition shows Dryden with a possible 58.5% increase recommended by the comptroller, but doesn't list Freeville. In dollars, the increase for Dryden would be from $11,239 to $17,819 - huge in percentage terms, not that large in dollars. It's probably also wise to be cautious about the odds of this increase happening in any case - it's a proposal from the Comptroller, not something in the budget.

Posted by simon at February 22, 2008 8:42 AM in , , ,
Note on photos


Nathanael Nerode said:

We really shouldn't be using all that road salt.

The sand does 'require cleanup' -- unless, like in Minnesota, you don't mind small 'beaches' at either side of the road -- but the salt is far worse in the long term, eating away at the cars, the roads, and severely damaging the fertility of the soil it runs off into.