FRANKFORT, KY (KFVS) -
With an already vigorous winter season and precipitation expected in the coming weeks, transportation crews are looking for ways to conserve their salt stockpiles.
Ky. crews say with less than 150,000 tons of salt on hand, and delivery becoming increasingly difficult, engineers are trying to stretch the remaining supply.
When conditions permit, crews says they will rely more on plowing and less on treatment with salt and other materials.
“We like to be aggressive about clearing our roadways,” Kentucky Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock said. “But we also must be careful in our planning and judicious in our use of salt and other materials to ensure we don’t run out.”
On average the transportation cabinet uses 200,000 to 250,000 tons of salt a year.
Crews have spread more than 300,000 tons of salt already.
With most of the country experiencing an unusually harsh winter, shipments of salt have slowed and new supplies are hard to find.
KYTC began this winter with a 60,000-ton emergency reserve inside the Louisville Mega Cavern.
However, transpiration officials say the reserve is down to 26,000 tons.
The 12 districts of the Department of Highways collectively have requested 18,000 tons of the reserve to replenish their supplies.
The salt shortage also means the state is unable to fill all requests it receives from county and municipal governments for additional salt.
KYTC says their top priority and obligation is to the state highway system. Crews say routes are assigned priorities based on traffic volume.
According to a news release, the“A” routes, which are the highest priority, include interstates, parkways, many four-lane roads and other highly traveled principal arterials. “B” routes, which would be next in line for treatment, are less heavily traveled U.S. routes. The “C” routes, the last to be treated, are mainly local and rural routes with low traffic volumes.