In New Jersey overall, the Transportation Department says it has spent close to $70 million clearing the roads this winter. The previous record was $62.5 million last year.
The DOT there has used more than 300,000 tons of salt.
As WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reported, the Garden State is gearing up for its 33rd winter event.
“If this trend continues and there’s just a lot more snow, it’s going to be very difficult and especially with the salt supply,” New Jersey DOT spokesman Joe Dee told WCBS 880’s Monica Miller. “And we’ve got a long ways to go before the end of the winter.”
Jersey City has 325 tons of road salt left for the storm, but it will require three or four times that much to keep the streets clean, 1010 WINS’ John Montone reported.
Crews will be out Wednesday spreading liquid salt brine on main streets, hills and secondary streets ahead of the storm.
The city of Clifton has already used twice as much salt as the previous two winters combined.
“We’re all begging for the supply,” Clifton City Manager Matthew Watkins said.
Snowy roads and ice-clogged rivers mean new shipments are coming slower, so like many municipalities, Clifton is now stretching what’s left of its dwindling piles.
It’s the same story in New York City, where sanitation crews have spread more than 346,000 tons of salt — double what they used all of last winter.
Preparations were also under way with salt running low in Rockland County, As CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported, Clarkstown Highway Supt. Wayne Ballard was preparing his workers and trucks late Wednesday for a long haul.
“I’m expecting this to be a 30-duration hour storm by the time they go back home again, once I bring them in at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning,” Ballard said.
The plows were lined up and ready to go, but salt in Clarkstown was in short supply.
“This barn should be filled right to the tippy top of the conveyor belt, like an hour glass,” Ballard said.
But the barn was far from filled. The suppliers aren’t getting him and other towns the tons they need. What was left will barely be enough to get this town through this coming storm.
“I’ve been yelling at them, ‘Give me the salt I need just to get me through a storm,’” Ballard said.
Department of Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria he’s not so much worried about the snow as he is about the potential ice.
“As we get some rain during the day, which will be a help, there won’t be as much snow. But once that water starts to get on some of that ice it’s gonna be slicker, when people, particularly when they’re getting in and out of their cars,” the commissioner said.
Unlike other cities and towns, Doherty said he’s not worried about running out of salt.
“We had 137,000 tons on hand and we’re getting more. We’re getting 5,000 to 6,000 tons a day so we’re in good shape,” he said.
And all the extra work is coming at a steep cost.
Mayor de Blasio just added $35 million for wages – including overtime – and salt, D’Auria reported.
On Long Island, the town of Babylon has already blown through its million dollar snow budget by nearly a $100,000, forcing the town to dig into the surplus to pay bills while it works to dig out of Mother Nature’s mess.
Long Lines At Gas Stations, Hardware Stores
The storm also made for lines formed at gas stations around New York and New Jersey.
“In this line, I was almost out of gas and needed gas for the snowblower,” said Joe Irwin.
“I wanted to be prepared with at least with the gas, because you never know,” said Cenaida Gonzalez of Chestnut Ridge, N.J. Big lines — those there are big lines.”
And as CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported, many residents said there is no way they can prepare for the storm, with massive amounts of snow next to bare pavements.
“It’s disheartening — that’s for sure,” said Jeff Moy of Cliffside Park, N.J.
Salt and shovels were sold out at hardware shores.
“I’m just looking for a shovel, period,” Moy said.
But he arrived too late to a Home Depot that sold out of the must-have supplies in a matter of minutes.
“We got 10 pallets in last night and it lasted 45 minutes,” said Home Depot manager Pete Ruiz.
In Hawthorne, Dave Dawson had a gas for the generator and snow blower.
“I’m all set, except I wanted more salt,” he said. “There’s no salt anywhere.”
His salt supply was down to a measly quarter of a bag, which would not be enough as his neighborhood in Hawthorne was set to be blasted icy white.
He will shovel more and improvise, like Johanna Cooper, whose plan B involved buying big bags of gravel instead.
“It’s gravel and I have a gravel driveway, and I just spread this on top of the ice and snow, and it gives a lot of traction, and you can walk on it and it’s fine,” said Cooper, of Pleassantville.
There is also a concern about the weight of all this snow and ice. Trees are already weakened by last week’s storm could fall over.
“The trees are top-heavy and they haven’t been thinned out,” Richard Oberlander of Clearview Tree Service told CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang. “The limbs break. They can’t take the stress of the snow.”
The snow also poses a risk to homes and buildings with flat roofs.
“I’m worried about the ice underneath,” homeowner Dan Malverne said. “With all the snow we’ve had, there are multiple layers and with more snow, it’s going to be treacherous for us.”
“It’s probably going to leak because it’s going to freeze up and it’s going to back up,” Michael Iannaccone at Homestead Roofing in Ridgewood, N.J. told Putney.
Last week, the snow and ice caused an awning to collapse in front of Duane Reade on 14th Street and may have contributed to a partial roof collapse in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx.
The heavy, wet snow and ice also has the potential to down power lines and road salt can damage underground electrical wiring that could lead to outages.
Area utilities said they are gearing up for the storm and says crews are ready to respond to any outages that may occur.
If trees bring down power lines before crews can get to them, power companies say stay away because they could be live and dangerous wires.
Homeowners are scrambling to make room for a fresh snowfall, but with freezing temperatures, it’s not easy.
“It’s really difficult. It’s packed down now from the snow blower, it’s still left over from the last storm,” said Westfield resident Lani Lipkind. “It’s solid ice. We’re chiseling away at it but it’s tough.”
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