Salt shortage delaying snow removal in Beavercreek and other Dayton-area cities

·6 min read

Feb. 18—Several Dayton-area cities are reporting salt shortages as they continue to clear snow this week following several winter storms.

Beavercreek is clearing the main thoroughfares and will start work on the neighborhood streets in the second half of today. City Manager Pete Landrum said the city was running low on salt because the last shipment of salt it got was on Saturday. There were several canceled or delayed shipments this week. The city got salt this morning and hopes to continue to get other shipments of salt throughout the rest of today. Beavercreek gets their salt from Cargill.

"As we entered neighborhoods yesterday, we were forced to use salt very sparingly because of our inability to get salt. Several of our salt deliveries have been cancelled and our last delivery of salt was on Saturday. Most jurisdictions around us are also having the same difficulty," Landrum wrote in a Facebook post, alerting residents to the issue. "With knowing that more snow was coming tonight/tomorrow, we had to conserve salt to be able to cover the main thoroughfares. If this storm is a light accumulation and we get the scheduled salt delivery, we will hit the neighborhoods hard with salt and get them cleared."

Typically the city would plow roads and then throw salt down, but if they would have done that with every single road, they wouldn't have had salt for the snow this morning. Landrum said the road crews are working on the main roads and U.S. 35 right now. When the snow stops this afternoon, the city hopes to get back into Beavercreek neighborhoods.

"The neighborhoods are passable right now, but most have some packed snow or you can't see the pavement," Landrum told this newspaper.

Crews have split into two 16-hour shifts, which takes longer to reach all the roads in the city, Landrum said. Road crews had already been out for days and nights covering other snow events. Landrum said he could not in good conscience put crews out on the road without proper rest. Beavercreek currently has 20 drivers covering nearly 600 miles of road.

"We're doing everything we can," Landrum said. "I know this is not the service that Beavercreek residents are used to, but I think that is a testament to the great service we usually give year round."

Clearcreek Twp. Administrator Matt Clark issued a statement explaining the township's plan of attack for inclement weather. The township's salt supplier this year, Cargill Inc., is out of salt. With the limited supply, Clearcreek is using road salt more sparingly than it typically does when treating its roads.

"We don't want to, but the fact is, we have to," he said. "We have to make certain that we don't completely run out of salt before more arrives. This includes limiting the amount of salt we throw on subdivision streets — typically lower speed, flatter streets."

Streets won't be cleared curb-to-curb like residents are used to absent salt, but township crews will keep them passable, at least, particularly those subdivision streets that have some grade to them, Clark said.

In Riverside, its salt deliveries from Cargill have also been delayed. They ordered salt on Feb. 4 which was delivered Feb. 17. As of right now, the city is not low on salt, but if the delays continue, they could run out, City Manager Mark Carpenter said.

Greene County, which also gets its salt from Cargill, said its supply is "thinner" than it would like, but they have enough to get through another snow storm, according to county highway superintendent Eric Miller. The county has lent some townships and villages salt over the past few weeks. Miller said Greene County got a shipment of 400 tons of salt from Cargill on Monday and expects more salt to come tomorrow.

"It's a shipping issues," Miller said.

Montgomery County Engineer Paul Gruner suspects the county has used more salt just this month than in the previous two or three years but said he won't know for sure until he tallies the tons.

The county, which uses 20 trucks to clear 315 miles of roadway, was running dangerously short of salt earlier this week but finally started receiving new supplies from Cargill on Thursday after two weeks without a delivery, Gruner said.

"They hadn't even been returning our calls," he said. "I think we'll be okay but we were getting pretty low."

The county did turn away some jurisdictions, including Jefferson Twp., which sought help from the county to replenish their salt supplies, Gruner said.

Montgomery County is responsible for clearing some of the county's largest arterials including Needmore Road, North Dixie Drive, Shoup Mill Road and Turner Road north of Dayton and Mad River Road, Social Row Road, Spring Valley Pike and Yankee Street in the southern part of the county.

Gruner said new storms that may crop up in coming days may put the county's salt supply back in jeopardy.

"Depending on how many how many loads we have delivered, we may start to run low again next week," he said.

Some ODOT locations that clear the state's interstates have seen resupply delays, but with 357,493 tons on hand ODOT has been able to make transfers between facilities, said Matt Bruning, ODOT spokesman.

"No one has run out of salt at ODOT," he said.

Drivers should slow down and give snow plows the same respect shown emergency vehicles like fire trucks and ambulances, Gruner said.

One county truck plowing snow was involved in a minor accident Tuesday when it was struck by a private vehicle that slid through an intersection, Gruner said.

But even minor crashes can take snow plow out of service for hours while a crash reports are completed, hampering removal efforts and causing a ripple effect as other plows have to cover the affected truck's route, Bruning said.

"We really need drivers to pay attention and give our plows space. They (plow drivers) tend to drive slower than normal traffic speeds," he said. "This is because while treating the roadway with salt, if they were to drive too fast it would toss the salt much farther than intended."

Miamisburg spokesman Gary Giles said he was happy to report the city has sufficient road salt on hand at this time.

"According to our Public Works Department, we are NOT operating under any shortage of supply," Giles said. "We recently took delivery on an additional 1,900 tons, and we have another 1,000 tons on order.

Miamisburg has not experienced any unusual problems with snow or ice removal, including its ability to address secondary streets, he said.

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