The Iowa Department of Transportation has used a record amount of salt this winter to fight ice and snow on the state’s roads. DOT Winter Operations Director Dennis Burkheimer says the agency’s 900 trucks have already dumped 245,000 tons of salt on interstates and highways.
He says this winter’s salt usage has surpassed the old record set in 2000-2001, when the DOT utilized 235,000 tons of salt. The harsh winter has dwindled salt supplies around the midwest and Burkheimer says it’s been difficult for local and state agencies to find more.
“Several cities and counties are always asking for help with salt,” Burkheimer said. “We try to help them wherever we can. We’re asking our local district managers to work individually with the cities and counties and try to help if they possibly can. It’s all based on their local situation and how much materials they have available.” Like most local governments, Burkheimer says the state has blown by this year’s snow removal budget. He’s hoping for a quiet end to the winter.
“Right now, we have about 110,000 tons of salt in the state and we still have another 20,000 or 30,000 tons coming in,” Burkheimer said. “So, we feel reasonably comfortable. We’d like to have a lot more salt in our sheds, but hopefully we’re four to six weeks away from Spring and we’ll have sufficient quantities to get us through without creating any problems.”