Road salt costing communities more

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Indianapolis, IN (January 5, 2015) – As street and highway departments across central Indiana gear up for the first snow storm of 2015, they’re still feeling the effects of the brutal winter of 2014.

Last winter’s historic snowfall totals left salt supplies depleted. As a result, prices went up.

“Our salt prices under contract this year have increased by 57-percent across the state,” said Indiana Department of Transportation spokesman, Will Wingfiled. “That means prices range from $72 a ton to $106 per ton.”

Many communities started stocking up on road salt during the summer months, after exhausting supplies in the first part of 2014. Cities and counties who took part in a joint purchasing agreement with the state saw prices go from $71 per ton to $79 per ton.

Most communites are reporting adequate salt supplies right now. But there is some concern about what may happen in the next couple months if this winter proves to be as rough as last year.

Franklin Streets Commissioner Andy Duckworth told Fox59 he’s not sure if the city will be able to get more salt if supplies are exhausted this winter. Like some other communities, Franklin is also mixing beet juice in with road salt to stretch the supply. At some point, city officials may have alter snowplow routes in order to conserve the salt supply.

In Indianapolis, the Department of Public Works has about 15,000 tons of salt on hand, with another 30,000 tons on order. Indy Snowforce has announced a full callout of 90 truck drivers starting at 11pm Monday.

DPW spokesman Scott Manning says low fuel prices and a mild December have helped the city to save about half a million dollars so far this season.

“We had about 10 inches of snow by this time last year,” said Manning. “We’ve only had about 2 1/2 inches to this point this year.”

The city’s policy on plowing residential streets has not changed. So, unless Indianapolis receives 6 inches of snow or more, city plows will not clear residential side streets.



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