Officials prepare for winter season with little salt

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By Laura Hagan

A harsh winter could bring local roadways to a halt if a salt shortage continues.

As winter quickly approaches, some local road crews are hustling to find enough salt to prepare for winter weather.

Brian Campbell, director of the Oldham County Road Department, said the county normally bids salt out. But this year, the county’s main suppliers said they can’t provide salt. Campbell said it’s something road crews are dealing with everywhere, but he’s not sure why there’s no salt to be had.

He said the county’s salt supply is full at the moment, and if they can’t find anymore before the winter weather begins, the department will adjust how they cover snow routes.

Other options include cinders, which many drivers aren’t fond of, and salt brine. Campbell said roads will still be pretreated with salt brine, but the department will proceed differently this winter, making sure to be extra conservative.

Campbell said he’s heard there’s salt to be had – somewhere – and he’s trying to track it down.

Last year, the road department stored all the salt they could get, selling to Crestwood, La Grange, Henry County and Oldham County Schools. This year, they’ve notified those customers that there isn’t enough to go around.

Crestwood Mayor Dennis Deibel told Crestwood’s city commissioners of the shortage at their September meeting. He said the city doesn’t want cinders and will try to use the brine and keep the roads scraped.

“If there’s more than a light snow, that’s not going to solve it,” he said.

Richard Rahm, director of La Grange Public Works, ordered more than 50 tons of salt in the spring. Since he found out about the shortage, he has called salt distributors as far as Bowling Green.

In the city of La Grange, Rahm said more salt brine will be used. He also plans to use cinders after the salt supply is depleted, but he hopes to be able to find more salt.

“I’m on the phone all the time,” he said. “If people hear of salt, I want them to let us know.”

Deibel said he’s looking into finding salt as well.

“(But) if my contractor and the county are having problems getting it,” he said, “it doesn’t look promising.”

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