YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – With winter weather on its way, those who maintain our roads and highways say they’re ready to go with plenty of salt on hand to clear the snow and ice.
Mahoning County Engineer Pat Ginnetti said his cost for salt is roughly the same as last year, however, fuel is a lot more expensive. Year-to-year figures since 2020 show the county’s bill to fuel its fleet has more than doubled.
“We participated in the state purchasing contract, which bids in the late spring,” Ginnetti said.
Ginnetti says his biggest issue going into the winter months is the potential impact of supply chain shortages on his operation.
“You never know if we have a bad winter and with the shortage of truckers and the high fuel costs, it could pose a problem with getting supplies,” Ginnetti said.
Like the county, ODOT gets its road salt and fuel for its fleet of vehicles through state contract. Justin Chesnic, a spokesperson for ODOT, said each of their garages and outposts can store up to 6,000 gallons of fuel at a time.
“Some of our garages they’ll fill up about every 10 days to two weeks. Some garages fill up about once a month, It just depends,” he said.
Chesnic said that the department will once again make its own brine solution for the roads. They’ve been doing it for over 15 years. The recipe is salt and tap water. It can be sued as a pre-treatment on dry rods to help melt away the snow. They plan on using it this weekend.
“That’s a big tool in our toolkit. It’s very effective and something we’ve been doing for quite a long time. It’s absolutely something we’ll be using during this event and throughout all the events this winter,” Chesnic said.
In western Pennsylvania, Penn DOT is still looking for people to operate their trucks and snow plows along with mechanics to keep them on the road.
“We are seeing a little bit of a shortage in staffing. It may take a little longer for our operators to get through their route,” said Saxon Daughtery, a spokesperson for ODOT.
Crews say they’ll be asking for the public’s patience as they work to get through the ice and snow.