Southington is taking advantage of a relief package prepared by the Connecticut Department of Transportation to deal with road salt shortages. Governor Dannel Malloy announced the relief package earlier today, a day after he declared a State of Emergency on the matter.
“We currently have over 1,800 tons on back order with both the DOT contractor (International) 800 tons and the CRCOG contractor (Cargill) approx. 1,000 tons,” Town Manager Garry Brumback said. “Hopefully this will cause some of our requests to be honored. We have had these requests in place since January 2 and have only received less than 40 tons.”
Gov. Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman announced at noon a relief package for all municipalities across the state facing road salt shortages after tackling 12 snow and ice storms this winter season.
Governor Malloy last night officially requested an emergency disaster declaration from President Barack Obama to address a potential municipal salt shortage. If granted, the declaration may aid in the much needed procurement of salt for the state’s municipalities and tribal nations.
“These consecutive, long-duration events have challenged the resources of towns throughout Connecticut, in terms of stretched budgets and inventory of salt to treat road systems,” Gov. Malloy said, in a release. “Those challenges have been compounded further by regional and national shortages of salt due to unprecedented demand by both public and private sector entities responding to this year’s storm season. I am hopeful that President Obama will act quickly on my request.”
Last night, the Governor also requested that the DOT develop a plan to provide immediate assistance with stop-gap supplies of salt to towns across the state. The Emergency Operations Center reached out to all the municipalities last night to collect information on salt shortages.
Based on the response to that inventory, beginning at noon today, any municipality that does not utilize the state contract can contact the DOT, which will coordinate the provision of salt to that town to meet their emergency needs. As of noon Friday, 121 municipalities responded to the survey with 22 requests for assistance.
“The majority, 88 out of 167 municipalities, have options to utilize the state salt contract with International Salt,” said DOT Commissioner James P. Redeker, in a release. “The DOT, working directly with International Salt, will defer all of its contractual deliveries of salt to the state until all of the 88 municipalities using the state contract receive their necessary quantities of salt.”
Those deliveries were suspended yesterday due to the heavy snow in the Port of New Haven and on the roadway network, and will take at noon today.
For those municipalities that chose not to utilize the state contract and now have salt shortages, the DOT has developed an immediate, stop-gap plan to provide critical salt supplies. After assessing the current inventory of salt at DOT facilities and ensuring that there is sufficient salt to address the anticipated demand for salt on state highways, the DOT is offering the municipalities not using the state contract access to its remaining, though limited, salt inventories.
The roads in town were not cleared to normal Southington standards during the recent storm, due to a shortage of materials, including salt, 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, during the height of the storm.
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, during Thursday’s storm. “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.”