Tough winter causing salt shortage

By Anthony Antoine |, Gary Brode |

Published 02/16 2014 07:43PM

Updated 03/03 2014 11:28AM

Latest: 10:04 pm, 3/2/14, Sunday
MAHOMET -- Road crews are glad the snow forecast didn't prove true. A few weeks ago, the city was faced with a shortage of salt. Last week, it received 15 tons from a private company.

Crews put about 15 - 18 tons of salt for every big snowstorm on the roads. The lack of snow this weekend, could buy them a little more time. This year, the city needed 30% more salt than last year.
Update: 5:30 pm, 2/17/14, Monday
MAHOMET -- Salting roads in Central Illinois hasn't been easy. And one town is running out of it. WCIA-3's Anthony Antoine finds out what village leaders plan to do next.

Champaign Public Works has tons of salt to go around, but the same can't be said for Mahomet. The village would like the snow to do one thing: stop.

"In the past, we've reserved 100 tons. We went to 150 tons in 2012. This year, we went to 200 tons."

And, it's still not enough.

"You can take up to 30% more than what you reserve, so we have actually accepted 244 tons."

But, the winter weather keeps coming.

"We have found another 25 - 30 tons."

Then, that's all they have left.

"That will take care of us for this event and probably one more."

To save as much salt as they can, they will mix in some sand and only focus on primary routes in town.

"This is one of the worst ones I've ever seen. Definitely one of the worst winters I've ever plowed. I'm ready for it to warm up. Hopefully, we're nearing the end."

The village has money to buy more salt, but because it's in high demand, finding a supplier is borderline impossible. If they run out, salt will be replaced with sand. The price of salt has skyrocketed. It's three times higher than it was last year.

The department can only store about 60 tons at a time. That's because the didn't have any space to put it. They just moved into a new building and soon, they'll be able to store up to 500 tons of salt if necessary.
Original: 7:45 pm, 2/16/14, Sunday
MAHOMET -- It's been tough for city crews to keep up with the roads this winter, and it's even tougher without salt. The village has a shortage of salt and it's transportation superintendent says the trucks are only able to salt main roads at this time to preserve what little salt is left.

Their supplier is struggling to get the salt to Mahomet. If they don't get more soon, it could cause some big problems. Crews have been scraping snow from the roads on days like Sunday when some of the snow and ice melt to preserve the salt.

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