Salt budget low, road departments order more

The Cole Co. salt budget looks low, but another shipment coming will take care of the rest of the winter season.

Snow plows and salt trucks have been cruising Missouri's roads for more than a week working to remove layers of ice and snow from the routes we travel every day.

Despite how many hours and tons of material have been put into keeping roads safe, state and county road departments are prepared for more wintry weather to come.

Cole County public works director Larry Benz said the price of salt has become expensive, and the smaller storms like Sunday's have just as big of an impact as full blown winter storms.

"We use the same amount of materials. The only thing different about this one was the cold. It started falling and temperatures started dropping, but other than that the small storms cost just as much as the big ones," said Benz.

Benz said the cost of salt has gone up from about $20 per ton to $65 per ton since he started working for the county.

Another shipment is being delivered that should last through the start of next year's winter season. With the cold temperatures, the county has been laying a sand and cinder mix to help with traction on the roads.

MoDOT Central District maintenance engineer Randy Albur said the state is in similar shape.

"Before it's all said and done we'll probably as a state will have used about 200,000 tons of salt in the snow fight for the year, which is above what an average year is," said Albur.

Albur said the Central District budgets for about 30,000 tons of salt per year, but has had to dip into contingency funds that are usually set aside for extra winter material or maintenance projects.

"Probably where it gets more significant is when you have an event where it's freezing rain and that type of situation. That ends up costing us more than a snow event does," said Albur.