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Winter Slushes Along, But Do We Have Enough Salt?

Temperatures are expected to plummet from now until Thursday with light snow showers scattered throughout the region, and some are worried the salt supplies won’t last.

Despite rumors of a potential salt shortage, city and state officials say they’re doing everything they can to keep the roads clear.

PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan said the state is ordering more salt to keep up with the high demand.

“It’s difficult to predict how much snow we will have before the end of the year,” he said, “but we’ll certainly do everything we can to make sure the roads are kept in good condition throughout the remainder of the winter.”

PennDOT District 11, which includes Allegheny, Beaver and Lawrence Counties, has used about 35,000 tons of salt. That’s three times the amount used last year at this time.

PennDOT used about 22,000 tons of road salt in Allegheny County this winter. They used 5,000 tons by this time last season, according to Cowan.

Guy Costa, chief operations officer for the City of Pittsburgh, said this winter has been “abnormal.”

“In Pittsburgh, you typically have a 42-inch snow accumulation during the winter,” he said. “I think we’re well over that at this point based on what we’ve had over the weekend. So, we’re in the last week of January and we still have a few more months to go.”

Pittsburgh Public Works crews have been working 12 to 16 hour days since Friday in preparation for this round of arctic weather.

Like the state, Costa said the city is constantly getting shipments of road salt to keep up with Mother Nature.

The salt being used is shipped from Louisiana to West Elizabeth, where it’s trucked in to Pittsburgh, according to Costa.