NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — This year’s active winter season has taken a toll on salt supplies and snow removal budgets in cities and towns across the Tri-State area.
A fresh shipment of rock salt reached New Jersey just in time for another round of snow Wednesday morning.
Workers at Port Newark unloaded a barge carrying 10,000 tons of the much-needed road salt. It’s part of a larger emergency shipment that’s been stalled in Maine.
State transportation officials have said New Jersey’s supply of road salt is dangerously low due to numerous winter storms this season.
A DOT spokesman said last week that the state had used more than 100,000 tons more salt by early February than in all of last winter. The spokesman said a big storm can use up to 20,000 tons.
Snow removal budgets are also strained.
The DOT has spent nearly $98 million this season to clear the roads compared to $62 million last year while the New Jersey Turnpike Authority has spent $32 million for snow removal, more than the last two years combined.
And unlike some previous years where we’ve been hit hard, state officials say there’s no federal disaster aid coming in this year.
Across the Tri-State area, it’s the same story.
In New York City, sanitation crews have doubled the load of salt from last winter.
On Long Island, the town of Babylon blew through its budget in January. The town has now been forced to dig into the surplus just to pay bills.
“We’re definitely over budget,” Tom Stay with the Babylon Town Department of Public Works said earlier this month.
The DOT says it has no choice but to clear the roads, no matter how much snow falls and cutting corners isn’t feasible.
The National Weather Service is forecasting more cold temperatures for the next few days, with a combination of snow, sleet and rain forecast for Sunday into Monday.
Forecasters say Wednesday’s snow is only expected to leave a coating to an inch.
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