(BEDFORD) - With Mother Nature expected to bring the first winter weather tonight with the potential to cause noticeable problems on area roadways, all eyes are now on area street departments.
Specifically, all eyes are on street and highway department salt depositories. Salt prices have doubled or, in some areas, tripled, since last winter, and street crews are hoping they have enough.
No one answered the phone at the Mitchell Street Department to comment on their status, however, a representative at the Bedford Street Department says they think they'll be okay if the coming winter is relatively normal, but that they plan on ordering more salt when budgets get issued after New Year's.
However, Lawrence County Highway Department Manager Dan Lucas tells WBIW News that, though he thinks they are okay right now, that can change easily. Lucas says salt went from $48/ton last year to $99/ton this year, and he says, "the ol' county just can't afford that."
Currently, county crews will mix 4 parts sand or cinders with 1 part salt, but if they run out of salt, it will be all abrasives, and no melting agents.
Lucas says that, no matter what, the highway crews are being instructed to use salt sparingly due to the cost and the current stock they have, and that he will be presenting a series of cost-saving measures to the Lawrence County Commissioners at their meeting next Tuesday, December 9th.
Lucas says measures to keep costs in line may include reductions in hours worked and strategies to conserve salt.
Lucas says that the budget for the Lawrence County Highway Department has been marginally reduced for 2009, and says most of that is due to fuel costs.
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