Pittsburgh salt shipment arrives; Hempfield Twp. low on salt again



PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh city officials received a much-anticipated salt delivery Monday, just before another round of snow.

Mayor Bill Peduto said that crews had to ration what salt they had left by using a mixture of sand and salt over the weekend.

Regional snowstorms have depleted salt supplies for municipalities and the state.  Earlier this week, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reported using 926,000 tons of salt this season, compared to 748,000 tons, on average, in recent years.

“This is my 25th year in Public Works, and I have never seen it this bad since 1977, 1994…, but not like this. This may go down as one of the worst winters in western Pennsylvania history,” Pittsburgh Public Works Operations Chief Guy Costa said.

Costa said Monday’s delivery included 500 tons of rock salt, sand and granulate limestone, which will be mixed together to treat the area’s roads.

“The sand and the limestone are going to be an anti-skid material, the rock salt will melt the snow, the liquid calcium will help melt the snow as well,” Costa said.

The salt shortage is not a funding issue but rather a supply-and-demand issue. The city’s supplier said they have been unable to keep up with the unusually high demand this year.

“It it’s a wet snow and we plow wet snow, that’s going to be a good thing because wet snow is easier to push aside and allows traffic to be more passable,” said Costa.

Meantime, in Hempfield Township, Westmoreland County, officials are again asking drivers to stay off the roads starting until 1 p.m. Tuesday.

The township received an emergency shipment of salt last week, but most of that has been used.

Last week officials declared an emergency disaster due to a lack of salt. 

On Monday night, Channel 11’s Pamela Osborne reported that Fox Chapel in Allegheny County is also in need of salt.  Officials have placed an order, but it has not arrived yet.