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Road Salt Supplies Dwindle On Long Island As BQE Weight Limit Hinders Delivery Trucks

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Long Island officials are expressing concern about a shrinking supply of road salt.

They say problems with the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway have cut their shipments in half, CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported Thursday.

Steady snowfall all day Thursday didn't stop folks from heading out. Road crews have been trying to keep up, but several townships are watching their salt supplies dwindle.

It's bad timing for another blast of winter weather, said concerned officials. People who went out early found the conditions were going downhill.

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There were spinouts and crashes across Long Island, including on a slick stretch of Sunrise Highway.

"I went to the first exit and turned around and went home," one driver said.

"Keep a distance from the car in front of you. Be very careful and go slow," said another.

"If you don't have to be out on the roads, don't," another said.

Slippery conditions caused two vehicles to collide on the Long Island Expressway before two more spun out, ending up on the shoulder.

It's not the highest snowfall of the season, but towns and counties unleashed their army of plows onto frozen roads that were quickly blanketed.

"They've been down here four times in the last four hours," said Mike Algerio from Commack.

But salt supplies are running low.

"We are down to probably about 30% of our capacity, maybe even a little bit less than that," said Huntington Town Highway Superintendent Kevin Orelli.

Orelli said supplies are running thin due to smaller salt shipments to Long Island from a Staten Island company that uses the BQE.

The aging highway, with corrosion and structural problems, is currently under truck weight restrictions. So salt trucks are half full.

"Now we're getting hundreds of tons rather than thousands of tons," Orelli said.

Towns were told other truck routes were ruled out because of the added cost.

"We're in touch with city and state officials to see if that can be lifted so that we can increase that supply," said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. "It's not an issue, of course, if we're not getting storms. But if they do continue at this pace, we're going to need to see that lifted."

Not all Long Island towns are feeling the salt pinch. Those that are are sharing resources and information.

For now, they say it is not impacting road treatment. But it will if there are more days like this.

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