Jacksonville is among 200 communities waiting to have an order placed for road salt for the upcoming winter.
Last winter’s record frigid temperatures and snowfall depleted supplies across the state, and it’s likely the price will be much higher- possibly double what was paid last year- if the communities are able to find any vendors willing to sell road salt.
The Illinois Department of Central Management Services this month informed many city and county officials in charge of buying the salt that no vendors have yet responded to their requests for bids.
Jacksonville Street Department Superintendent Les Ballinger says he’s no concerned right now.
“At this time, I’m not,” he says. “I mean, last year it was September 1st when I got the contract back from CMS, so I’m still waiting on that.”
Ballinger says the street department used close to 1,000 tons last winter, which he says is close to normal. The Jacksonville Street Department shed is capable of holding about 1,500 tons.
Ballinger says he won’t be concerned unless there’s no salt by the fall.
“Probably after September, September or October, yes. I mean, we do have some salt in our shed, probably would last a third of the winter, depending on what we have,” says Ballinger. “I’m sure we’ll get some salt.”
More than 560 communities participated in the solicitation for road salt bids. Department officials say 367 communities receive dbids from salt vendors, while 195 did not.
The department has offered to seek new bids from vendors, but has also told public works departments to explore other alternatives.