Road salt dwindles; costs up

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By Cindy Simpson

Road salt supplies have dwindled for the area as the Southeast was blasted with the worst wintry weather in recent years.

“I’m out of salt,” said Harriman street superintendent Darrell “Drack” Langley. “I’m using rock and sand right now. Our roads are decent.”

Harriman only had “maybe a truckload” of salt on Wednesday, Langley said.

The street department was saving that for emergency use until the city is restocked.

Langley said the city would be ordering about 75 to 100 tons more.

He said the city has spent $13,000 so far on salt, which they’ve gotten from Morton Salts out of Knoxville.

“We’ve spent more than we usually do,” Langley said.

Roane County Road Superintendent Tom Hamby said he would probably dip into hot-mix funds to buy more salt to cover the more than 650 miles of county roadways.

“I’ve got enough to get us through this week probably,” Hamby said of his current supply.

“We already spent over $15,000. That should have done us all year,” Hamby added.

In addition to the salt worries, cold temperatures are limiting just how much melting road salt can do.

“The subfreezing temperatures are causing the most problems,” said Harriman Mayor Chris Mason.
Rockwood public works  director Tom Pierce said the city has enough for one more big snow and will be ordering more.

“We still have about half of our salt stock. I could handle another storm like this. Then I would be out,” Pierce said.

About $4,000 has been spent so far on salt, according to officials.

The city is looking to spend about $2,000 more.

Rockwood used a scraper to help clear roads, Pierce said.

He said one roadway that was inaccessible even with four-wheel-drive was cleared with the scraper.

Kingston’s salt supply was dwindling as well on Wednesday.

“We have some salt still on hand. We could probably, what they tell me, we could probably handle another snow,” said city manager Jim Pinkerton.

Kingston is looking at buying an additional $4,000 in salt, according to Pinkerton.

That depends on whether they can buy salt, however, Pinkerton added.

Langley even said that ordering salt and when it actually was delivered were two different things.

“Don’t know when we’ll get it,” Langley said.

“I guess everybody will be searching for salt,” he added.