(KTVI) – The impact of harsh weather last winter will be felt well into this coming winter.
Not so much in how road crews treat the ice and snow, but in how big the hurt is in our wallets.
The extreme cold, snow and ice across the U.S. drove salt usage to near record levels in many spots.
For example, St. Louis County used 41,000 tons of salt last winter an all time high. Both MODOT and IDOT also report massive increases in the amount of salt used last winter over other recent winters.
The sharp increase in usage is driving an equally sharp increase in demand to replenish stockpiles ahead of this coming winter. For St. Louis County, that means the cost per ton of salt has increased by around 30% for this winter up from $54 per ton to $70 per ton. MODOT is reporting similar increases.
In Illinois, the news may be a bit better. IDOT officials say they took advantage of an option in their contract from last year that guarantees them more than a half million tons of salt at the same prices as last year.
Several maintenance projects in Missouri will be put on hold because of the budget shortfall created by the spike in the cost of salt. St. Louis County spokesperson David Wrone says the county is postponing about $1.5 million worth of projects including some paving work along Forest Park Parkway.