The Town of Ithaca’s road salt supply has struggled to meet the demands of this winter, which has slammed the community with its severity in both temperatures and snowfall. The town announced Feb. 20 it will be limiting its usage of salt due to shortages experienced by Public Works.
The announcement explained the town will be focusing its remaining road salt supplies on intersections and hills in an effort to make it through the rest of the winter season. It also warned drivers to be wary of the slippery conditions.
Highway Superintendent Jim Weber said the reason behind the town’s new limitations was that the product is simply not available for purchase. He said because salt has a shelf life, companies will only produce according to the quantities ordered by municipalities nearly a year ahead of time. Unfortunately, this winter was harsher than expected, he said.
“We are at a point right now that we do not have options available,” Weber said. “Every municipality in the state and across New England … they are pretty much running at their limit of what is available versus what the demands are.”
The announcement said the town traditionally uses 2,200 tons of road salt during a winter season. However, this year 3,200 tons have already been used, and despite a move to expand salt storage facilities after the winter of 2013–14, shortages are still being experienced.
“People will see plowed roads, but there will be snow packed on them without being down to bare pavement,” Weber said. “It is imperative for the drivers to adjust their habits to the conditions that exist.”