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Municipalities stretch salt supply as snow continues to fall

By Mary Jo Ola, mola@wisctv.com
Published On: Feb 17 2014 04:29:01 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 18 2014 11:40:06 AM CST

Another winter storm is demanding more salt. Big cities like Madison are comfortable with their salt supply, but smaller municipalities may struggle through the rest of winter.

MADISON, Wis. -

Another winter storm is demanding more salt. Big cities like Madison are comfortable with their salt supply, but smaller municipalities may struggle through the rest of winter.

After salt was put onto Madison roads early Monday, street crews loaded up on sand to weigh their trucks down before they headed out to plow snow.

"Since Dec. 2 they haven't had a weekend off . We've been working every day since then," said Chris Kelley, Madison Streets superintendent.

The city of Madison has 7,000 tons of salt left after Kelley's department placed an additional order last month. He said the area usually does not see this many winter events this time of year, and it is the small ones that can use up the salt.

"This is the second time we've had to do this. We purchased it once before and that was 2007-2008 when we got the 101 inches," Kelley said.

The extra salt load came in from Iowa rather than Milwaukee due to a recent shortage.

Kelley said last year, Madison experienced 34 winter events requiring street crews to work on road conditions, and this year they have had 48 events.

Kelley said he believes the city is in good shape for the rest of winter, but they will have to be smart about how much salt they use.

The village of Oregon has been using a mixed blend of salt and sand since Jan. 1.

In a phone interview, Oregon's Public Works Director Mark Below said the village has up to 125 tons of salt left. Below said if the supply runs out, the village will only have sand to clear 46 miles of streets.

Below said he doubts Oregon will have enough salt to make it through winter.

He said a possible consequence with using sand to clear snow, is if the village does not have it all swept up by spring the sand could seep into waterways.

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