Winter forces Lincoln to seek more road salt

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The harsh winter has forced Lincoln to replenish its supply of road salt.

The city has a $250,000-a-year salt budget and typically uses about 4,800 tons during winter, the Lincoln Journal Star reported . Lincoln already has used about 6,000 tons and winter isn’t over.

Last year, the city didn’t use any private contract plowers and only used city plows on one day, said Tim Byrne, maintenance operations manager.

This year, Lincoln has used plows four or five times. City crews had to use ice control measures during this winter’s cold weather to clean the roads since snow and ice wasn’t melting naturally, Byrne said. Other Midwest communities faced the same harsh winter, and the city’s salt supplier, Nebraska Salt & Grain, couldn’t get Lincoln the salt it needed because of the high demand. The city sought bids for more and recently signed a contract with Westover Sand and Gravel of Weeping Water for an additional 1,000 tons of salt.

Leftover salt will be saved to use next winter, he said.

The city uses salt in its brine mixture to fight ice and puts the granular salt, sometimes mixed with sand, on streets.