Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

March 4, 2014

Snow, ice eating into area salt supplies

By Boris Ladwig Daily News
Greensburg Daily News

---- — GREENSBURG – Old Man Winter’s cold hands are continuing to pry the salt from local street departments, and if he does not relent soon, the city of Greensburg will have to dig much deeper in its pockets to replenish supplies.

For now, however, primary roads in Greensburg have been cleared, thanks to salt, sunshine and plows, while secondary roads are in good shape, and only residential streets retain some of their white cover, said Greensburg Street Department Commissioner Mark Klosterkemper.

He said he was confident that his crews, which worked from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, and came back out at 4 a.m. Monday to work on the city’s roughly 70 miles of roads, will have all roads cleared within a couple of days — even without using more salt.

Klosterkemper said crews used quite a bit of salt on Sunday, because the ice was treacherous.

“I do have enough for right now,” he said. “If it snows (again), I don’t,” he said.

He has ordered more salt, but has filled his contract, which allows him to purchase the material at about $64 per ton. If he needs more, he will have to pay current market rates, which recently reached $135 per ton.

“We’ll do what we have to,” he said.

Thankfully, Klosterkemper said, the sunshine and traffic are warming the road and melting the snow and ice, and once plows have cleared the roads, only additional precipitation — not freezing temperatures alone — will make the roads slick again.

The Decatur County Highway Department received another 60 tons of salt and 240 tons of sand on Monday, said Superintendent Mark Mohr. The county mixes about one part salt with three parts sand, and needs about 100 tons per snow/ice event.

“The road conditions right now are improving,” Mohr said. But he worried that roads on which the snow and ice was melting in the day’s sunshine would become slick again during the night as the water refreezes.

A day crew of 18 people worked from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, and a second shift, of four people, from 5 p.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday, Mohr said.

He said crews got a lot of the county’s roughly 658 miles cleared on Sunday and Monday, and he expected today’s temperatures to allow his department to make more good progress.

Contact: Boris Ladwig 812-663-3111 x7401; boris.ladwig@greensburgdailynews.com