A spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Transportation says salt supplies are holding up this winter, but spending is eating into the summer maintenance budgets.
As of Feb. 20, 2014, MDOT has used more than 444,000 tons of salt. That's about an 80% increase over usage at the same time last year.
MDOT says it expects salt usage to exceed 600,000 tons. The state department of transportation also expects spending to reach $128 million. MDOT's winter budget is $88 million.
MDOT says it is working with local transportation agencies to stretch the remaining salt supplies through spring.
"MDOT, county road commissions, and municipal public works departments will work together to make sure we get salt to wherever it's needed throughout Michigan, and potholes are patched as quickly as possible," said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle, "but the higher than expected costs of this winter will make for some difficult choices when it comes to non-winter maintenance activities the rest of this year."
"Our vendors have assured us that they can cover this year's contract amount of salt, including the 30 percent contingency, but likely won't be able to
provide more," Steudle said. "However, our staff is cautiously optimistic that we'll be able to get through this winter with the salt remaining in our contract."
In recent winters, MDOT has used:
- 400,615 tons in 2010 at $57.19/ton
- 526,449 tons in 2011 at $57.62/ton
- 343,157 tons in 2012 at $59.07/ton
- 507,086 tons in 2013 at $53.61/ton