Local communities running low on road salt

LOWER MERION, Pa. - February 11, 2014

"We're worried that it's going to be potentially hazardous with this particular event," Robert Kagel, Chester County Emergency Management.

In Chester County, they're preparing for the worst case scenario.

More than a dozen communities have put in emergency requests for salt supplies, facing critical shortages or no salt at all.

Those communities include the City of Coatesville and the Borough of Downingtown.

The following townships are also reporting a salt shortage: East Fallowfield, Franklin, New Garden, Newlin, Sadsbury, South Coventry, Uwchlan, Upper Uwchlan, East Whiteland, Willistown and West Vincent.

Every community in Delaware County is reporting salt shortages. However, Swarthmore was completely out, but just got a delivery that will last an estimated two storms.

As for Bucks County, many municipalities are running low, but only two have requested help from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

In Montgomery County, 14 municipalities are in need of salt, with two completely out.

Lower Merion has two salt silos and both are at just 10 percent of capacity.

Montgomery County has almost 800,000 tons of salt stockpiled for county roads, but it won't be able to share it with local municipalities.

On top of that, the two big suppliers can't predict when they'll have more available. Now, emergency management officials are warning residents to prepare for the worst.

Normally, the state might be able to free up some salt from the PennDOT stockpiles. However they're running low too, and don't have any to spare.

"We're at a time right now where we have to ensure that we have enough salt. We have 26,000 tons on the ground right now and another 16,000 tons that we can order and get access to that," said Nich Martino, PennDOT. PennDOT has 11,000 lane miles of highway to keep clear and needs all the salt it can get. "We're asking people, even before it starts snowing and it may seem a little crazy, to change your plans, stay home," said Kagel.

Residents may need to be prepared for an extended stay. Roads will be plowed, but without salt many streets may remain unpassable for a while.

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