Road salt in high demand this winter

Despite a winter without a lot of snowfall, some parts of the area have found the supply of road salt is dwindling and the cost of buying it is going up.

They have about 3,500 tons of salt on hand right now at Chicago Salt Company. They say this should be enough to get to their contractors for now. But for smaller contractors who don't already have a deal, it could be a problem.

"They're going to be going to get salt Monday and Tuesday and there's not gonna be salt available so they're going to have to go somewhere else to get it," said Leon Benish with the Chicago Salt Company.

Leon Benish said he's being told much of the salt supply is being sent to Indiana and other Midwest states that have had more snow. But while it's been a relatively mild winter so far in Chicago, we've had less than half the usual amount of snowfall at this point in the season, it has still been cold and wet. That means drivers haven't had to plow much, but they've still had to be out laying salt.

The head of the Park Ridge public works department, Wayne Zingsheim says, "The problem is the snow can come in little spurts but you still have to have salt. You have to keep the roads safe," said Wayne Zingsheim with the Park Ridge Public Works Department.

Zingsheim said during nearly three decades on the job in Park Ridge he can't remember a winter like this with relatively little snow, but still lots of cold and precipitation. He's hoping that continues.

"It's a lovely winter... it makes my life a lot easier. Trust me" said Zingsheim.

Of course it's not even yet February, so there is still lots of winter left to go. Meantime some experts say the last winter with a salt shortage four years ago saw the price of salt more than double in price. They say that could happen again this year.
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