DIXON – The abundance of winter storms and abnormal amount of ice for northern Illinois is putting more pressure on public works crews throughout the area, and now a new problem is popping up.
Road salt is running low.
“Everyone is having the same problem,” city Street Department Manager Jim Canterbury said. “We’re not up against the ropes yet, but we’re being cautious so we don’t run out.”
The city and county have enough salt stored to weather the next couple of winter storms, and more is on the way; they just don’t know when, Canterbury and Lee County Highway Engineer Dave Anderson said.
Municipalities contract for salt through the state, and the city is waiting on 200 tons owed, but deliveries are being made only to those with critically low salt levels.
The city has a contract for 1,500 tons of salt with the option for 20 percent more, and until the shipment comes in, they’ll try to stretch out the remaining supply by adding some crushed road rock.
Most years, the city’s salt shed remains about half full, but this winter has left it “a little on the skinny side,” Public Works Director Matt Heckman said.
“The ice we’ve had has been off the charts,” Heckman said.
The county likely already has gone through about 3,500 tons of salt, Anderson said.
“This is definitely up there as one of the higher-use winters we’ve had,” he said.
“Last year was a breeze.”