Salt a little pricier for Jacksonville Street Department

By Gary Scott on November 18, 2014 at 7:18am

Despite concerns earlier this year that some Illinois municipalities may not have salt this winter to battle snow-covered roads, Jacksonville’s street superintendent says the stuff’s in the shed.

Les Ballinger says the city purchased about a thousand tons of salt for anticipated winter weather. While getting the salt was no problem, Ballinger says it cost double what it normally does- nearly $98 a ton.

Ballinger says the street department recently got about half the order, and should have the other half by January.

“We haven’t had to go out yet. We got lucky this weekend; the other roads haven’t been covered yet,” he says. “We have to always be ready, of course. It is a little bit early to have snow.”

Some areas of eastern Illinois saw three inches of snow this weekend, with snow falling across the eastern half of the state. In Jacksonville, it was only a dusting.

Temperatures are expected to feel more fall-like over the next week, but when we do get hit with the white stuff, whenever that happens, Ballinger notes the street department now has an extra salt truck, bringing the total to six.

“That puts us with an extra truck, and we just got a new plow and salt spreader on that. We purchased a new truck, and then we kept the old one just in case,” Ballinger says. “You always have breakdowns and stuff, and then if it gets bad, we can hire extra help and put somebody in it.”

At the county level, Morgan County Highway Department Engineer Matt Coultas
says the price increase for salt purchase was about 80 percent. He says the county hasn’t purchased any additional salt for this winter yet, as it’s still full from last year.

Coultas says the county has about 1,600 tons of salt under contract.