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Long Island Officials Concerned About Road Salt Supply As Winter Storms Keep Coming

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Long Island officials are expressing concern about a shrinking supply of road salt. The say problems with the BQE have cut their shipments in half; CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reports.

Video Transcript

- To Long Island where officials there are concerned about the shrinking supply of road salt.

- They say problems with the BQE, a highway in the city, have cut off their shipments in half. CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff live with that in the Dix Hills. Carolyn.

CAROLYN GUSOFF: Yeah, good evening. You can see the LIE behind me is pretty clear at this hour and that has taken a lot of snowplows and a lot of salt. But there is concern that if we get too many days like this one, salt supplies may not keep up.

Bad timing, say concerned officials for another blast of winter. Folks headed out early to find conditions going downhill.

- I went to the first exit and turned around and went home.

- Keep a distance from the car in front of you and be very careful and go slow.

- No good. Big problem. Be careful.

- If you don't have to be out on the road, don't.

CAROLYN GUSOFF: On a slick stretch of Sunrise Highway and across the island, spinouts and multiple crashes. Not the most snowfall of the season, but towns and counties unleashed their army of plows to frozen roads that were quickly blanketed.

MIKE ALGERIO: They've been down here four times in the last two hours.

CAROLYN GUSOFF: But salt supplies are dwindling.

KEVIN ORELLI: We're down to probably about 30% of our capacity, maybe even a little bit less than that.

CAROLYN GUSOFF: Huntington Town Highway Superintendent Kevin Orelli says supplies are running thin due to smaller salt shipments to the island from a Staten Island company that uses the BQE. That aging highway with its corrosion and structural problems is currently under truck weight restrictions, so salt trucks are half filled.

KEVIN ORELLI: Now we're getting hundreds of tons rather than thousands of tons.

CAROLYN GUSOFF: Towns were told other truck routes were ruled out because of the added cost. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.

STEVE BELLONE: We're in touch with city and state officials to see if that can be lifted so that we can increase that supply. It's not an issue, of course, if we're not getting storms. But if they do continue at this pace, we're going to need to see that lifted.

CAROLYN GUSOFF: Now, not all Long Island towns are feeling the salt pinch. Those that are are sharing information and resources. For now they say it will not impact treating the roads. But if we do continue to get days like this one, it will. Reporting from Dix Hills, Long Island. Carolyn Gusoff, CBS2 News.

- Carolyn, thank you.