Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

February 6, 2014

City hoping for salt delivery

Crews have used almost double last year's salt total

By Scott Smith
Kokomo Tribune

---- — Kokomo has enough salt to easily get through the additional snow expected this weekend, but the city’s street superintendent said he’s hoping a salt delivery arrives soon.

“We’re not being as Free Willy with it as we are sometimes,” Joe Ewing said early Thursday, saying he estimates the city has between 700 and 1,000 tons of salt on hand right now. He said he's expecting another 3,000 tons to be delivered very soon.

Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight said Thursday the city has used 4,300 tons of salt this winter, which is already among the top five snowiest winters on record. Last year, the city used 2,350 tons of salt for the entire winter.

Ewing said the city uses a minimum of 30 tons, and sometimes upward of 200 tons of salt per snow event.

“There’s salt there now, and it’s just waiting on traffic and for temperatures to rise to work,” Ewing said.

Goodnight told WWKI-FM that the city has paid plow drivers more than $100,000 in overtime since January.

Kokomo’s heavy use of salt and plows is more or less in line with most of the state this year.

Tuesday, the Indiana Department of Transportation announced that over the past five years, the average cost of INDOT’s winter operations including overtime, fuel and salt has been $33.8 million.

With this winter a little more than half over, INDOT estimates it has invested more than $31 million in winter operations as of Jan. 18.

City officials said crews will be out today putting more salt and beet juice brine down on primary thoroughfares, and hitting curb lines.

Scott Smith is on Twitter, @JasonSSmith1, and can be emailed at scott.smith@kokomotribune.com