Southington is among the many communities to feel the sting of road salt shortages in the state. The issue has gotten so bad that Gov. Dannel Malloy issued a State of Emergency on the matter yesterday.
“I have asked our state emergency management personnel to reach out to our cities and towns tonight and get more information on what their salt supplies look like right now, indicating to us how much they currently have on hand and how much they use in a typical storm,” Gov. Malloy said. “This will enable us to pursue a request to the federal government to assist these communities to increase their supplies as the winter season continues.”
The Gov. added, “I want to stress that this request is to address the issue of salt supplies for the remainder of this winter season as there surely will be additional snow and ice events this year. With winter storms impacting many parts of the country, some of which don’t typically see this type of weather, salt supplies are being stretched throughout the entire eastern portion of the US.”
More information on a request to the federal government will be announced as soon as the plan is formalized.
The roads in town were not cleared to normal Southington standards during the recent storm, due to a shortage of materials, including salt, Town Manager Garry Brumback said.
“We are critically short of salt and sand and are only able to do the hills and mains for this storm,” Brumback said, last week during the height of the storm. “If we don’t get a re-supply today we will only be able to do the hills tomorrow.”
Brumback said the salt contractor for the region has run out of salt. He said the town is searching for other sources, but noted these too were running low.
“Our highway team is short of salt and has been conserving to ensure that we are able to open roads in the event of ice,” Brumback said. “We currently have 2,400 tons of salt on back order from two separate contractors. It takes approximately 300 to 400 tons to treat the roads in Southington. We currently have less than 250 tons on hand.”
The town has exceeded its snow removal budget this year, but is still within its contingency, Brumback said.
“This has been a challenging season for several reasons,” Brumback said, detailing some of the issues the town has faced with this winter’s storms. “The storms have seemed to come in waves and lasted several hours each, this causes us to use crews over extended periods at both regular and overtime rates of pay. With the cold weather we have found ourselves needing to both pre and post treat to avoid ice forming even after we have plowed.”