Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

News

January 10, 2014

Snow, ice takes bite out of salt/sand supplies

This week’s snow, ice and wind ate into local street and highway departments’ salt supplies, overtime budgets and damaged some equipment.

But city and county officials said that while they hope that additional storms bypass Decatur County, they still have enough salt supplies to battle more snow and ice.

Greensburg Street Department went through about 200 tons of salt this week, about half its annual allotment, said Mark Klosterkemper, the department’s commissioner.

He said the department nearly depleted its 200-ton storage facility Wednesday — though deliveries since then have boosted supplies to near 100 tons.

“It’s hard on the budget, “Klosterkemper said, “(but) I’m not in a crisis mode yet.”

The city budgets between 350 and 400 tons of salt per year, for about 70 miles of roads, Klosterkemper said.

“I kind of have to operate on a shoestring,” he said.

The department also could not use a lot of its sand, he said, because it keeps the sand outside. Heavy rains on Sunday and quickly falling temperatures turned the sand into a solid block and made it unusable.

Salt and ice also stuck to the equipment, and the extreme cold caused some damage to salt spreaders. Klosterkemper said, however, that he was expecting some parts to be delivered, and that all equipment save for one spreader should again be operational today.

Decatur County Highway Department used close to 600 tons of a salt/sand mixture this week on its 660 miles of roads, at a total cost of about $15,000, said Mark Mohr, the department’s superintendent.

The department got a 90-ton salt delivery on Thursday, which boosted supply to acceptable levels, Mohr said, although he expected the price to continue to rise because of the significant demand from Indiana counties further north.

Mohr also warned that although a lot of the snow has disappeared from roads, some patches of ice may remain because Sunday’s rains froze quickly when temperatures plunged.

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