Rationing Underway as City Faces Road Salt Shortage

The city of Rutland, Vermont has taken steps to ration road salt, after supplies dipped lower than the public works department would like to have. "This is a potentially serious problem," said Jeff Wennberg, Rutland's public works commissioner.

Wennberg told New England Cable News the city has been getting salt from its supplier lately only in dribs and drabs. He said with so much snow walloping so many communities across the country, rock salt has been tougher to come by in some places this season. Spikes in demand have also been sending prices soaring, he noted.

"It's expensive, and right now, it's unreliable, and that's the problem," Wennberg said. "We're really, literally, almost minute-to-minute in terms of having enough salt. And because the prediction is that we're going to have snow on and off really for the balance of the week, it's disconcerting if we continue to have periodic snow."
Wennberg said the salt piles on-hand now are not sufficient to respond to an average storm. Therefore, he said the approach to salt rationing means only intersections, hills, and the downtown district are seeing salt treatments for now.

The Vermont Agency of Transportation said bitter cold this week made state roads harder to clear after back-to-back storms. Snow was firmly packed down on many roads for much of Tuesday. A string of crashes and slide-offs across Vermont had VTrans begging drivers to slow down and give others more space.

"We're always in a rush to get everywhere," said Todd Law of VTrans. "Where, if we took a little more time, we'd get there safely."
Wennberg told NECN he believes Rutland's salt supplier is doing as best as it can dealing with the increased demand created by this brutal winter. As he continues to explore options to maintain the kind of salt storage levels he'd like to see, Wennberg said he's keeping an eye on the forecast, well aware of the possibility of some more snow in the coming days. 

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