Winter salt use up compared to last year

The city used a lot more salt this winter than last and two weeks ago ordered another 130 tons, but city Service/Safety Director Ken Kenst said he’s hoping they won’t need it as they start working on spring projects.

“It’s been a dirty winter,” he said.

Motorists can expect to see the street sweeper making its rounds along city streets in an effort to remove some of the dirt and grime from what’s become a long season of snow and ice.

The street department just ordered some hot patch, too, so pot holes can be fixed more permanently. Hot patch isn’t available in the cold winter months, so they temporarily fix holes with other materials.

Kenst noted they didn’t have to use any salt until around the Christmas holiday and ended up using 1,200 tons for the season. Last season, the city used about 800 tons. With the recent order, they’ll have plenty of salt on hand to start the next winter season.

He reported no major problems with snow and ice removal this year. He credited a couple of purchases made with funding from the sale of street grindings last year to making the job easier.

Tarps were installed on all the trucks so the salt wouldn’t get wet and would slide out easier. A one-button control was also installed on the gear shifts of the trucks so operators could activate the salt spreaders without taking their hands off of the manual gear shift.

Kenst said the problem they had wasn’t with the heavier snows, but with the number of snow events when they had to salt the streets, leading to the additional salt usage. He thought the crews did a good job of clearing the city streets.

“I think everybody in Salem should be happy,” he said.

He also addressed a question about some spots around the city, such as on North Lincoln Avenue near Sugartree Alley, where Columbia Gas did some work and there are bumps where the pavement and the cement patch don’t match up. He said once it warms up, Columbia Gas will be back to fill in and smooth out the rough spots since asphalt will be available.

As for pot holes and problem areas, he said to call his office at 330-332-4241 to notify the city. He said the street crew is out there every day, but may not be aware of every spot.

“Please let us know and we’ll do our best to take care of it,” Kenst said.

This week the street department has been working on alleviating a drainage problem on Maple Street from Union Avenue to Morris Avenue, using $4,000 donated by a resident to close an open ditch and install a 12-inch storm sewer pipe with catch basins. Water previously flooded the street and people’s yards.

At this point, he said they have not determined what streets will be paved this summer, saying street personnel will ride around with him and with engineers to determine which streets need the work the most. He did say Fourth Street and Fifth Street will be done through a grant.

How many streets they do will depend on how much money they determine will be available from the capital improvement fund.

Mary Ann Greier can be reached at