WisDOT asks counties to conserve road salt

By Heather Sawaski, Local 5 News

Published 03/05 2014 05:05PM

Updated 03/05 2014 05:27PM

BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) - Our harsh winter is taking a toll on state salt supplies, and there's more snow in the forecast later this week. That's why WisDOT is asking county highway departments to start conserving road salt.

"This shed, at least in the last 5 years, has never been this empty," said Robert Bousley, inside one of Brown County's salt sheds.

But several snow storms, and lots of ice, have salt supplies in Brown County running low.

"Last year we used about 18,000 tons throughout the whole winter," said Bousley, an operations manager with Brown County Public Works. "This year we've used about 25,000 tons. So that's considerably more."

It's the same story across the state. And since winter won't seem to quit, WisDOT is calling on counties to conserve their salt supplies.

"The salt levels are going to remain the same for the interstate highways," explained Kim Rudat, Regional Communications Manager, WisDOT. "We are going to be cutting back a bit on the lesser traveled roads and, in fact, on some of the far less traveled roads, we're going to be introducing a salt-sand mix."

WisDOT officials said they started winter with about 775,000 tons of salt. They're now down to 135,000 tons. While Rudat said salt continues to come in, crews need to be cautious.

"It's not going to run out," he said. "What we're doing is we're making sure those counties that need the salt get it."

In Brown County, Bousley said more shipments are expected in this week. It's salt he ordered back in January.

"Everybody else has been using a lot more salt so our vendors are having a hard time keep up with the demand," he explained.

As far as safety for drivers...

"They shouldn't see too much of a difference in the road conditions," he added. "People need to slow down, drive for the conditions and be aware that areas that might have been clear sooner might not be as clear as they were before."

Copyright Copyright 2014 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.