Ohio may use twice the usual road salt this winter

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Department of Transportation may end up using nearly twice as much road salt this season as it typically requires for an average winter, a spokesman said.

The department uses 630,000 tons of salt in an average winter and had nearly that much on hand in October, before what has been an unusually cold, snowy winter. The state has called in contracts with salt companies for an additional 510,000 tons and received permission from a legislative panel to buy 45,000 tons more, ODOT spokesman Steve Faulkner said. Not all of that salt has been received.

Salt demand is outpacing supply, and some shipments have been delayed. That has limited the state's ability to help local governments that are short on salt or can't afford to buy more, though the department has been helping those communities in dire need on a case-by-case basis, Faulkner said.

"We are not in a position to be able to help a community for the rest of the winter, but if it's a matter of getting them through a storm that's coming up, we can try to do that," he said.

The department has said it is looking at alternative ways to get salt into the state.

"You have options when you have salt, and the issue is right now there's no salt," Faulkner said.

Some of the supply currently on hand is expected to hit the pavement this weekend as a major winter storm is forecast to drop ice and a foot of snow or more in some parts of west-central Ohio, with lesser amounts in other areas.