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Cities Running Low On Salt During Extra-Snowy Season

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- This winter hasn't just been tough on our commutes and our psyche, it's been rough on city budgets, too.

Twin Cities winters average 54-and-a-half inches of snow. So far this season, we've gotten 57 inches of snow, and it's been a constant battle for crews to keep it off the roads.

Minneapolis sets aside $10 million for its snow and ice removal.

"We're out there…responding to some freezing rain on a few bridge decks up to a full 10-15 inch snowstorm," said Mike Kennedy with Minneapolis Public Works.

The city also plans on three snow emergencies per winter, but crews are out there throughout the cold months clearing streets and sidewalks.

"We need to be responsible yet try to deliver the best public service we can," Kennedy said.

Across the river in St. Paul, crews have been working around the clock to clear away mountains of snow this season.

It costs a half million dollars every time there's a snow emergency. The city has declared eight so far this season. It budgets for four.

"It's a challenge," said Mayor Chris Coleman. "We'll get through this winter fine, and with a little luck, next fall won't be quite as bad as it was this year."

With a fresh annual budget funding the work, it's not money the cities are running out of right now…it's salt. 

"We have kind of put ourselves on a low-salt diet, because we know we have to get through the winter," Kennedy said.

St. Paul is already running low on low-temperature salt.

"We don't expect extra cold temperatures this time of year," Coleman said.  

Along with icy roads, another complaint both cities are getting are for potholes. Crews will begin patching those as soon as the ice melts.

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