City considers stocking up on salt to save money

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By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

When it comes to road salt, London Safety-Service Director Stephen Hume is urging city council to plan and buy ahead for next year.

This year’s winter has dumped large amounts of snow and ice on the roadways. As a result, the city has used 1,000 tons of salt—400 tons more than usual.

 “With everybody using salt all over the place, I guarantee next year’s price will be high due to demand,” said Hume, adding that he wouldn’t be surprised if rates jump to nearly $80 per ton on up to $100 per ton.

Last year, the city purchased 960 tons of salt at $50.70 per ton, “an excellent price,” Hume said. The city got that price by partnering with the Ohio Department of Transportation, which negotiated the salt contract on the city’s behalf.

To get through the rest of this winter, the city has ordered 250 more tons of salt. While the supplier did not offer the original $50.70 rate for the extra salt, they did sell it to the city at $67 per ton, which Hume said is “still a good price.”

 “The contract expires at the end of April, so we’re asking council for more money… We can stock up while we’re on the extension, before the contract goes out to bid when the cost will probably be higher,” Hume said.

The street department likely will ask for an appropriation of $40,000, he said. The city has storage capacity for up to 800 tons of salt. The decision to stock up early will be up to council.

Priority System for Road Clearing

Eight inches of snow followed by ice fell on London Feb. 4-5. The street department cleared all streets within a 20-hour period. Snow was falling for 15 of those 20 hours.

While the department received many compliments for their work, Hume said the city also received complaints. Residents expressed frustration over the order in which roads are cleared.

At the Feb. 6 council meeting, Hume explained the city’s priority system. Roads are cleared in the following order:

1. Arterial roads—These are the main roads through town, generally state and federal routes. (Examples: routes 56, 42, 38, 142 and 665).

2. Connectors—These are the streets that run between the arterial roads. (Examples: Garfield Avenue, Park Avenue, Maple Street, Richmond Avenue and Keny Boulevard).

3. Collectors—These are streets that get motorists in and out of residential subdivisions. (Examples: Amherst Boulevard and Dorset Drive in the Amherst subdivision; Eagleton Boulevard in the Eagleton subdivision; Wesley and Oxley drives in the Sheffield subdivision.)

4. Residential streets

5. Cul-de-sacs and deadends

 “This last storm we had was a big one,” Hume said. “We had eight inches and it wasn’t coming down all at once. So, we’ll do the main roads and get started on the collectors, but then we’ll need to do the mains again because they’re covered again, which means we’re not getting to the residential streets until after the storm is over.”

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