This winter’s topsy-turvy road salt situation leaves Dover city officials with many questions about what will happen next winter, but that didn’t stop council from joining ODOT’s road salt contract for 2019-20.
Service Director Dave Douglas says the city needed council’s approval by Friday to participate in the contract. He says he doesn't yet know how much salt is going to cost
“We’re going to try to have 1,500 tons to order, and we’ll see how the bids go. We have no idea how the bids are going to be,” he says. “We don’t know if they're going to be high again or how they are. You never can predict anymore.”
Douglas says this past winter, ODOT first had trouble finding a company to bid on this region’s road salt contract. Then, the price came back at $87 a ton, almost twice as much as the year before. Then, delivery was inconsistent, with a February order not arriving until spring.
“Towards the end of February in those areas that we had those snows, we really couldn’t put the salt down like we had in the past,” he says. “The guys would plow and that, but yet we had to hold back because we only had a couple hundred tons wanted and we were afraid of using it all and now having any for any other snowfalls. I think it did hurt us. I think it kept us from really doing our jobs and what we wanted to do.”
Douglas says he doesn’t know why the salt delivery was inconsistent, but he heard that one of the suppliers’ salt mines was shut down, causing the price increase.