Short on SALT

Supplies dwindling, so Aurora plans to be conservative, salting mainly on primary streets

The “one-two punch” of this winter’s above average snowfall and below average temperatures are creating challenges for Aurora’s street maintenance crews as they deal with a regional shortage of salt used to help clear the City’s 2,100 lane miles of roads during winter storms.

With several days of bitter cold temperatures and additional snow in the forecast, officials are alerting residents that the use of salt for the foreseeable future will be focused on primary streets with very conservative salting taking place in residential areas. 

The residential streets are very likely to remain snow covered in the event of more snow, but they will be drivable according to officials, and motorists will have to use extra caution. Salting is also less effective when temperatures are below 20 degrees.

Aurora, like many municipalities, receives salt through the Illinois Joint Purchasing Program. Supplies throughout the state are at low levels resulting in shortages of road salt across the Northern Illinois region.

Drivers are reminded to slow down and allow extra space between vehicles when driving in winter weather and be extra cautious at intersections and on hills and bridges. They are also urged to be especially careful when interacting with snow plows, staying a minimum of 75 feet behind the trucks and never attempting to pass them. Even where roads appear to be wet, drivers need to be mindful of “black ice” which causes roadways to be slick.

Aurora officials are also reminding residents of the city’s snowfall ordinance which was enacted to assure safe and effective snow plowing.  It dictates the ticketing and possible towing of any vehicle parked on a public street or alley during or after a snowfall of two inches or more. Failure to comply can lead to a ticket and vehicle tow that will cost a minimum of $150.00, plus applicable storage and release fees, depending on the time of the infraction.  City streets and alleyways are not considered plowed until the lane of traffic nearest the curb has been cleared.

The City has already responded to 25 snow events so far this year. At this time last year, response was only required to four snow events and in the 2011-2012 season, six events had been addressed to date. Approximately 13,500 tons of salt have been used so far which is close to the average amount of salt used during an entire season. Officials say there is enough salt on hand for the immediate future but the current forecast will obviously further impact salt supplies.


–News Bulletin news sources