WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – The snowy winter is taking a toll on the salt supply in the area. West Lafayette’s Street and Sanitation Department has used more salt this year than last year.
West Lafayette Street Commissioner David Downey said they used about 800 tons of salt last year and about 1,500 tons this year.
“We started using another chemical called beet heat. It’s like a molasses. It’s supposed to enhance the chlorides in the salt. We’ve used almost 5,000 gallons of that,” added Downey.
Downey said they can still order 300 to 600 tons of salt if it’s needed. However, they still have enough salt because of last year’s mild winter.
“We wound up starting this year with over 1,200 tons of salt,” Downey explained.
Downey is still concerned with how the rest of winter will turn out.
“We’ve got at least 50 more days of winter. We may have 60 days of winter yet and we could always get a big snow right there in March,” said Downey.
News 18 Chief Meteorologist Chad Evans said the roads will go downhill Friday night and Saturday morning because an icy mix is likely to hit the viewing area.
“The good news is for a good chunk of the area, we’re going to go over to all rain for awhile on Saturday. The bad thing is that a near flash freeze is possible Saturday night, perhaps with a little more icy precipitation. So, it will get really bad once again,” Evans explained.
Downey said they have to add sand into the salt mixture when ice and rain is in the forecast.
“When rain hits, it dissolves the salt and makes it ineffective. We need something out there that gives a little grit to be able to drive,” said Downey.
Downey explained sand is not good for the drainage system, but the street sweepers and sewer vacuums will take care of the problem. He said the number one priority is to keep the roads as safe as possible during the winter.