Jul 29, 2014
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Oak Lawn’s Salt Supply Dwindling

Winter storms are causing some municipalities to scramble for road salt, including Oak Lawn, whose own supply is dwindling.

Oak Lawn’s Salt Supply Dwindling

The village is using its supply of road salt “judiciously” as supplies are running low after being hit by a succession of plow-and-salt worthy winter storms within the past week.

Residents' reviews of the Oak Lawn Public Works Department’s snow removal efforts since New Year’s Eve are mixed, with some residents complaining that their side streets aren’t getting plowed, let alone salted. By Saturday, rumors began to swirl of a salt shortage in the village.

Oak Lawn Village Manager Larry Deetjen said the village is waiting for another road salt delivery, but ice on the Cal-Sag is preventing a barge from reaching the port in Lemont.

“We buy in volume,” Deetjen said. “The salt dome only stores so much salt. When we get down to a certain volume, we order more.”

Deetjen explained that the company the village purchases salt from has been slow on deliveries.

“We’ve been holding off on salt. We don’t want to run out. We try to keep the main routes going.”

Village streets have gotten at least one pass since pass from plows since Oak Lawn got dumped with 8.2 inches of snow on Sunday, Deetjen said.

Oak Lawn has budgeted $150,944 for road salt in 2014. The average cost for road salt is approximately $51 per ton. Deetjen added that ordering is based volume remaining from last year and expenditures from past budgets. 

Some Chicago suburbs are also reporting road salt shortages leaving municipalities scurrying to replenish supplies, according to a report by ABC 7 news.

And don’t expect residential main roads, arterial and side streets to get salted until temperatures warm up into the 30s later this week. Salt loses its melting power when temperatures drop to 10-15 degrees and becomes ineffective, unless treated with calcium chloride, WGN-TV chief meteorologist Tom Skilling explains.

Meanwhile, Oak Lawn residents continue to express their dissatisfaction with snow-packed side streets. As one Patch reader put it, “nothing tweaks the citizenry quite like snow-packed roads and lazy trash collection,” which has been known to cause voters to sack mayors and municipal administrations.

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