Salt shortages plague local communities

LAKEWOOD -- This cold winter weather is making salt a hot commodity.

Several local communities are facing a salt shortage and worry about their ability to keep roads safe after this winter storm.

Lakewood was nearly out of salt last week, but the city's order for 1,000 tons finally came in after months of waiting. Mayor Mike Summers said there's enough for this week's forecast. After that, things might get tricky, so he's not breathing a sigh of relief just yet.

"We were in desperate shape. Today we are in decent shape," Summers said.

Decent shape because there is enough salt to get Lakewood cleared from this storm, but the situation could quickly become desperate again.

"We would like to have more there (in the salt dome), no question about it," Summers said.

Canton is facing the same issue right now. The streets superintendent there told Channel 3 news that without more salt, the city can't weather another storm.

Morton salt out of Chicago is the contracted company this year instead of local provider, Cargill, because Morton came in with a lower bid. But deliveries have been few and far between, and local businesses are starting to feel the impact.

"A lot of the customers, I'm sure they don't want to venture out on the streets or the sidewalks," GV Art and Design Manager Jen Truschon said.

The few people out on the streets were using extreme caution and avoiding entire areas altogether.

"The side streets here are not cleared, and they're packed with ice, and it's very slippery, very hazardous," a Lakewood resident said.

Right outside GV Art and Design, the sidewalks are still covered in ice, and it's almost impossible to park without getting a car door stuck in a snowplow drift. A popular shirt in the store displays a Cleveland forecast with a big question mark, and the salt supply is no different.

"If we don't get the remaining orders, we're going to have to be very careful here," Summers said.

The mayor has ordered an additional 900 tons of salt from Morton, but there's no telling when or if that amount will actually arrive.

When contacted by Channel 3, Morton Salt responded by emailing the following statement:

"This has been an unprecedented winter weather season with the continued snow events and cold weather. We're doing everything possible to replenish our customers' salt supplies as quickly as possible. Even with these efforts, the demand for road salt is causing some delayed deliveries as we try to balance the needs of our customers. We know this is frustrating for customers and communities and we apologize."

Summers said he's working with ODOT, Morton, and Cargill on a new plan for next year, so communities don't have to face another shortage.


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