It’s one hot commodity – after a weekend full of freezing rain that iced up roads and parking lots throughout our area, salt has been in high demand. Maine Department of Transportation Region Manager for the Northern Region Bob Watson said this past weekend MDOT easily used more than one thousand tons of salt to treat the roads.
“We’ve had several storms where you just get the roads opened up and things just start to bear up good and they refreeze so you end up using a lot more salt during one storm,” says Watson.
Every winter DOT budgets for about 20 thousand tons. So far this winter, they’ve already used more than 7,500 of that, which is unusual. Watson says he’s not concerned about running out, they have plenty in reserve, but the supply has been coming in slower. Demand has been so high lately that S.W. Collins actually ran out on Monday and had to order inventory to be there first thing Tuesday.
“It has been very unusual for us, usually we’re seeing the amount of salt sales spread out over the last couple months that we’ve experienced just in the last week or so,” says owner Gregg Collins.
Collins says salt has not been the only thing in demand to deal with the ice – they’ve also sold a number of hammers, square point shovels, and ice picks over the last few days. The hot ticket items over at Ben’s Trading Post have been the ice creepers, grippers, and stable icers that go over boots. Within one day of getting a new shipment – they’re already running out.
“Expecting a few more hopefully tomorrow but they’ve been tough to get been trying to order them everywhere and everybody’s out,” said owner/operator Ben LeBlanc.
So until all the rain and ice we’ve had recently starts to fall as snow, expect the slim pickings to continue.