Local road salt supply good for now

Salt supply is seen at
ODOT’s garage on Mitchell Road in Bowling Green. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)

Salt supplies don’t look too bad at present, but potential issues may be looming.
Theresa Pollick, spokesperson for Ohio Department of Transportation District 2, headquartered in Bowling
Green, said the district is “doing OK” on salt. More than 2,000 tons were stockpiled in Wood County
before Monday’s snow storm, and about 1,600 tons were left over on Tuesday. She said the area lucked out
with sunshine and warmer temperatures following the snowfall.
However, Pollick said, “it’s a situation we’re monitoring.”
Bowling Green Director of Public Works Brian Craft told city council Tuesday night that the city has
between 800 and 900 tons of salt on hand.
“We hope that’s enough to get through the rest of the winter,” he said.
Craft said the city has used about 1,800 tons of salt this winter, compared to 800 tons during the
2012-13 winter season. He said that Tuesday’s post-storm sunshine and temperatures above freezing helped
clear the streets.
Lake Township road supervisor Dan McLargin said the township has about 200 tons of salt on hand and 300
tons on order but he doesn’t expect the order will be filled.
“From everything I’ve heard, there isn’t any salt left,” he said.
Due to the shortage, when there’s a storm, Lake Township crews will only salt the main intersections. He
said that is protocol for such shortfalls.
Gary Britten, superintendent of the Wood County Highway Garage, said salt supplies for his department are
“not too awfully bad.”
Their shed is currently full, he said, with an additional 800 tons on order. That is the maximum that
they can obtain at one time.
However, Britten said he’s not sure if all of that 800-ton order will actually come through.
In talking with a representative from the trucking company that hauls the road salt, Britten said they
expected to deliver about 200 tons Wednesday.
While the partial order “would really help us,” Britten noted “they’re about out (of salt) in Toledo, and
that’s the problem. Once they’re out, we won’t get anymore.”
The garage and many other local municipalities and townships are able to purchase salt through a contract
ODOT holds with salt providers if they choose to do so. That, Britten said, has “worked really well.”

ODOT in Columbus announced on Saturday that its request for salt to provide to local communities received
no bids from companies as of Friday, after a 10-day window for the bids, started on Feb. 5, expired.
ODOT had asked salt companies to bid on 10,000-ton increments of salt to be delivered to seven locations
during three rounds in order to help communities whose salt supplies could be depleted. The hope was to
accumulate 150,000 tons, which would be distributed at no cost.
A call placed with the ODOT central office seeking comment regarding next steps was not immediately
returned.
Pollick said it is a challenge for salt providers to keep up with the demands posed by this especially
snowy winter.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s not only a problem in Ohio, it is across the entire Midwest,” she said,
noting stories she’s heard about salt supply problems in New York and Minnesota.
“If that is the case, if they’re having issues, what is the next step?” asked Pollick.
Britten said suppliers in the region, including Detroit, Indiana, Cincinnati and Columbus, are out of
salt, and that the only two locales with supply in the area are Toledo and Cleveland.
“But that’s it. Now it’s pretty much Cleveland.”