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State conserving salt supplies

Staff report

Despite a lull in the winter storms that have pounded the state, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has advised its 12 highway districts to conserve salt supplies and focus on other efforts in combatting further snow and ice.

The cabinet has less than 70,000 tons of salt.  Historically, that has been more than enough for riding out the winter, but the cabinet wants to ensure that each county has enough salt to handle another storm, according to a news release.

A national salt shortage, delays in salt deliveries, and wave after wave of winter storms have hampered the cabinet's snow and ice removal. The cabinet has ordered more than 90,000 tons of salt, and shipments are expected in the coming weeks. As deliveries trickle in, the cabinet has implemented conservation methods. They include reducing salt application rates to 180-200 pounds of salt per 2-lane mile from customary rates of 250-400 pounds and blending sand or small aggregates with the salt on lower priority routes.

This season, the cabinet has used more than 410,000 tons of salt, compared with 160,000 tons at this point in 2013.  Snow and ice operations have cost the cabinet more than $53 million.

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