Got salt?

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County, cities ready for bad weather

By Jamie Baker-Nantz

The temperature has dipped and that means the potential for snow and ice aren’t far behind.

While some welcome the white and shiny stuff, most of those who are forced to drive in it just want to see snowplows pushing it aside or road crews treating the roads.

This winter, though, getting the snow off the roads could be a problem as cities and counties may find themselves short on salt.

Grant County, however, has salt.

“I haven’t had any trouble getting any,” said Kim Crupper.

Crupper operates a trucking service in Williamstown and has the bid to haul salt for the county and cities of Williamstown and Dry Ridge.

He was aware that some cities were in a panic because they had been unable to find salt.

“It’s been the talk all summer,” Crupper said. “I think it all started when salt suppliers ran out last season. I mean they ran completely out and usually they have a surplus.”

The long winter with extended bouts of snow and ice can be blamed for lapping up the county’s salt supply.

Crupper said he’d already hauled the county’s salt.

From Nov. 2007 to March 2008, the county used 790 tons of salt.

“We’ve secured the same amount as last year,” said Judge-Executive Darrell Link. “I’m hoping we don’t have to use any of it.”

The Grant County Road Department uses a mixture of ash, cinders and salt.

So far, they have not been able to find ashes.

In addition to the county roads the road department maintains, they also take care of snow removal and treating the roads for the cities of Corinth and Crittenden.

Link said both have asked that their city streets be treated with salt only.

In Dry Ridge, the maintenance department has ordered 250 tons of salt.

Williamstown used 225 tons last year.

“We’re contracted for up to 250 tons,” said Williamstown Mayor Glenn Caldwell.

Williamstown uses a mixture of salt and cinders.

“Salt works the quickest and best,” Caldwell said.

Williamstown has four trucks with plows and three with spreaders.

The Kentucky Department of Highways maintains 423 miles of highway in Grant County.

According to Nancy Wood, public information officer for the district, in 11 counties the department has stockpiled 30,000 tons of salt.

“In Grant County, we have over 5,000 tons stored and waiting,” she said.

If the forecast is predicting snow and the pavement is dry, the state pre-treats with salt/brine (a salt water mixture). Wood said, depending on conditions, they also may pre-wet the salt to make it stick to the roadways better.

She said they were aware of the salt shortage but were currently at capacity.

The panic over not finding salt fueled a price spike, Crupper said.

Crupper hauls from a terminal in Cincinnati. He said those who waited until late in the year to purchase salt sent suppliers scrambling to bring salt from as far away as Africa.

“Those who waited may be in trouble,” he said.