Local and state road agencies deal with spike in salt prices

Aug 27, 2014

This story was updated at 8:07 on 8/28/14.

Winter weather is still a few months away – we hope – but road agencies are already preparing for the season.

Credit LisaW123 / Flickr

And they're dealing with a spike in salt prices. The statewide average for road salt is about $66 per ton. That's up nearly 50% from last year.

Michigan's County Road Association says high demand from last winter means vendors haven't been able to adequately restock.

Ed Noyola is the association's deputy director.

"The actual impact is going to be on the public," Noyola said. "We're going to do the snow plowing and the snow removal but it's going to take longer because we have fewer people, we have less equipment, we have older equipment."

Jim Harmon is the operations director for the Washtenaw County Road Commission.

He says if Lansing doesn't approve more money for road maintenance, driving conditions will suffer.

"I think the public needs to continue to impress on the Legislature that this is important to the state of Michigan, it's important to our motorists, our businesses, our commerce, our quality of life," Harmon said. "Winter is certainly a part of that and the state Legislature needs to address this larger issue with funding."

The commission reports an increase of at least $500-600 thousand dollars in its winter expenses.

CORRECTION - An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the increase in winter expenses would be $5 million dollars, the correct amount is between $500-600 thousand dollars.

– Alyse Guenther, Michigan Radio Newsroom