Floods delay winter preparation - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Floods delay winter preparation

CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - The Cedar Rapids city council made a move Wednesday night that will hopefully save the city from a road salt shortage this winter.

They approved the purchase of 3,000 tons of salt (over $400,000 worth), which will add to the city's existing 1,300 tons. That supply is dismally low, after a heavier-than usual past winter, and a couple of hundred tons that washed out after this summer's flooding.

"The scarcities are already there as we enter the winter, much less if we have an abnormally large winter again," said Craig Hanson, Cedar Rapids' Street Maintenance Manager. He says demand for salt across the midwest, coupled with higher fuel and delivery prices, have drummed up costs.

"Everybody is trying to replace their salt reserve, so there's a high premium need on salt. "It's approximately 50 percent more than what anyone would have used in a normal year."

He and his crews have also been working overtime during flood recovery. As a result, normal road work has suffered.

"Our concrete work that we would have done in June, all of that was lost. Our crews were picking up sandbags, or making sandbags and then deploying them."

And that's not all. The floods filled the city's maintenance garage with 3 to 4 feet of water, covering hydraulic and electrical components on plow attachments. With crews behind schedule, Hanson says many of those tools of winter have yet to be tested.

Last winter, the city went through about 11,000 tons of salt, about one-and-a-half times the normal amount used in a winter season. Statewide, the Iowa Department of Transportation recorded over 300,000 tons of it was used. The usual amount is around 200,000 tons.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith


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