Salt shortage hits suburbs

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With a dwindling supply Naperville is activating a salt conservation plan, meaning main streets will be salted but side streets will get a mixture of salt and sand.

Linda LaCloche, Naperville Communications Manager, said “We’re doing ok but we need to conserve so we can stretch and ride out this shortage that’s happening.”

This relentless winter has left many suburbs scrambling for salt.  Naperville has already gone through16,000 tons, usually what they would use for an entire winter.

The city has another 12,000 ordered but with regional demand so high the deliveries have been trickling in. Not fast enough to keep up with the snowfall– more coming overnight and yet another round expected next week.

So Naperville officials say it’s time to conserve. Main streets will be plowed and salted as normal, side streets will be plowed, but treated with a mix of salt and sand and that means drivers really need to slow down.

“For our secondary roads and residential roads we’re going to mix and limit where we lay down,” LaCloche said, “We’re only going to have to hit curbs and roads in the residential areas.  They’ll  see plows but they might see snow packed streets.”

Glen Ellyn uses about 100 tons of salt per snowfall. 500 tons is all they have left, and unlike Naperville, which has a large storage capacity, they do not have any more salt on the way.

And the winter weary are wary of what’s to come.  Glen Ellyn’s public works director says salt prices have skyrocketed from about $50 ton at the start of winter to now more than $200 a ton.

Even so they say they’re working on getting their hands on as much salt as they can for as cheap as they can, to keep the roads safe for residents.

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