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Road department ready for one more round of snow

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Salt ordered, but might not arrive before March 1

By Stephen Lega

 As of Monday, the Marion County road department had enough salt and other materials available to handle one more round of snow.

Marion County Road Supervisor Tommy Lee said it takes about 80 tons to treat the roads when it snows. Last week, Lee purchased a round of sand and calcium chloride mix from IMI, which his department mixed with salt to treat the roads during the weekend’s snow. 

“I’ve got about one more round left,” Lee said Monday.

He told the Marion County Fiscal Court on Feb. 6 that the sand mix doesn’t work as well as the salt, but it does give him something to use while he is waiting for another order of salt to arrive.

He placed an order for more salt more than two weeks ago. It’s possible the order could come in this week, but Lee said he’s been told it might not arrive before March 1.

The heavy winter across the nation has increased the demand and reduced the supply of available road salt, according to Lee.

Typically, he said his department will begin putting down salt when they get a call from another agency, such as the sheriff’s department or the police, reporting that roads are becoming slick. Then, the road department will put salt on curves, hills and intersections. Lee said their goal after a snow shower is to keep the roads in good enough condition that people can be mobile.

Unfortunately, this has been one of the busier winters in recent memory.

As of last week, the county road department had used about 650 tons of salt already this winter, Lee said. At $70 per ton, they’ve used nearly $45,500 in salt. That is the most salt they’ve needed since 2011, when they used 600 tons, according to Lee. Lee is hoping that - with any luck - the last of the winter storms have come and gone for the season.

“It’s going to break one of these days,” Lee said.