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City To Stretch Salt Supplies With Storm Approaching

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Salt supplies are dwindling in many municipalities. Just this weekend, the City of Pittsburgh unveiled that its supplies are now dangerously low.

It's expected to get two shipments of salt today, but it still might not be enough.

The city is hoping to have 500 tons of rock salt by the end of the day. It still isn't nearly enough, but Public Works has a game plan to hopefully get through the next round of snow.

Just before 9 a.m., four dump trucks unloaded around 100 tons of salt in an almost empty salt dome. The supply is dwindling down with a supplier that can't keep up.

"We are just about out of salt," Pittsburgh Chief Operations Officer Guy Costa said. "This is my 25th year in Public Works and I've never seen it this bad."

The city's vendor, American Rock Salt, is expected to deliver 500 tons of salt today. That will be mixed with 500 tons of sand and limestone for a total of 1,000 tons, which is just enough to handle one inch of snow on all the city's streets.

Costa said that many roads will only see a plow and no salt treatment as they try to stretch the materials they have.

"Our goal on the flat streets, secondary, tertiary streets, is to make them passable. If it's a steep hill, we'll treat it to make it safe for motorists," Costa said.

The shortage, not just in the City of Pittsburgh, but in many areas, has outraged residents. Many feel this is bad planning or budget issues.

However, Costa said it's neither - American Rock Salt has not fulfilled several of their orders.

"They're rationing the rock salt, trying to help everyone out," Costa said. "The contractor we have, the county's using, the state's using, the municipalities are using. They just cannot keep up with the demand. We'll find the money to buy the salt. Unfortunately, the salt isn't available."

Already looking to next year, Costa said one solution is to have a contract with a second vendor to meet the city's demand for salt.

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