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Tue February 4, 2014
Springfield's Road Salt Supply Runs Low
It's been a hard winter for area residents. Governmental agencies in charge of keeping streets cleared of snow and ice have also felt the impact.
In Springfield, Public Works Director Mark Mahoney calls it a return to normal.
"In some ways, we've got a little bit spoiled. The last couple of winters have been very mild. Over the past several years, we haven't had the type of winters we had a few decades ago," he said.
The harsh winter has meant city crews are spreading more salt on roads, using up a lot of what the city has in stock. It also takes manpower to work on the roads. The overtime costs for the department are way up.
Springfield has a contract for 9,000 tons of salt this winter. About 7,000 tons have been used prior to this week's snowstorm.
'There are some city's in the north that are completely out of salt. We are fortunate we are not in that situation," Mahoney said. "But we are being very conservative. We have a limited amount of salt at the moment."
An order of salt is on its way to Springfield, but delivery is being delayed by, of all things, the weather.
Mahoney said getting through February is crucial. A new budget year will begin after that time. But as Mahoney points out, last year's largest snowfall came March 25.
As for snow removal, roads considered main routes, especially around the hospitals, get first attention. Trouble spots, such as hills, are also taken care of. Rationing of salt will occur in some other areas, including applications at optimal times.
Mahoney said he feels confident the city will make it through the winter with road salt.
"We've inquired about obtaining additional salt and we're on a list for that, just as many other communities around the region are. Even if we wanted to buy more salt, it's going to be a challenge getting it," he said.
The rough winter is also showing up on roads that now contain potholes. Mahoney said the freezing and thawing this season will result in more surface damage.