Salt contract comes in far below last year’s cost

(Posted Nov. 10, 2016)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

As a beautiful autumn winds down and chillier temperatures creep into weather forecasts, the Madison County Engineer’s Office is preparing to stock its salt barn to combat winter driving conditions.

On Nov. 7, the county commissioners opened bids for deicing rock salt for the 2016-17 snow plow season. Four companies submitted bids ranging from $60.79 per ton to $74.19 per ton. County Engineer Bryan Dhume is recommending that the contract go to the lowest bidder, Detroit Salt, a company based in Michigan with a depot in Dayton, Ohio. The commissioners will vote on the contract Nov. 14. Last year, the county paid $73.82 per ton through Cargill.

Dhume said his department typically goes through about 4,000 tons of rock salt each winter. He has 2,000 tons leftover from last year. The new contract commits him to purchase 1,800 tons this season, with an option to buy up to an additional 400 tons at the same price.

“With the leftover material from last year… our salt expenses should be less this year,” Dhume said, noting the savings are weather dependent.

In other news, Dhume said work at the intersection of U.S. Route 42 and West Avenue in Plain City hit a minor snag. The intersection is located near Der Dutchman restaurant.

The project involves adding lefthand turn lanes on Route 42, widening the intersection, and adding a traffic signal. Work began in late-September. The goal was to have the roadwork done by Dec. 1 and the traffic signal in by March 1. However, part of the roadwork must now wait until spring “because of difficulty with the communications utility,” Dhume said.

Frontier Communications has internet and phone lines running under the intersection; the lines must be moved aboveground. The company has not yet done that. Until the lines are moved, roadwork on the west side of the intersection cannot be completed. Rather than have the intersection disrupted during the winter months, the decision was made to hold off on the rest of the roadwork until spring.

The good news, Dhume said, is that the traffic signal will be installed ahead of schedule. He expects to receive the poles in December, after which the signal can go up.

“The signal is the main component of the project,” he said.

He also noted that minor delays are not unusual for projects like these that involve several parties.

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