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Break out the salt — after a mild 2011-12, winter arrives

| Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, 8:59 p.m.
(c) 2012 Aaron Loughner
Monroeville Public Works Crews were hard at work over the weekend making sure the municipalities roads were clean and safe. Jimmy Kitchen operates the front loader, dumping salt into the trucks. Aaron Loughner | For The Times Express

Last week, road crews in Monroeville finally were able to put a dent in the surplus of salt piled at the public works storage facility on Starr Drive.

Workers spread about 500 tons of salt on Monroeville roads Dec. 26 and 27, as nearly 6 inches of snow and ice accumulated in the area.

Monroeville public works director Mike Adams estimated 800 tons were used so far this winter, as of Friday.

Adams said he placed a salt order for 2013 that is 2,000 tons lighter than last year's order. Because of how mild last winter was, Monroeville and many other communities in the region were left with a surplus at the end of the season.

“We didn't have much of a winter,” Adams said. “(The dome) is the fullest it's ever been.”

The dome holds an estimated 4,750 tons, and the rest is stored outside, he said. Monroeville buys its road salt from Minneapolis-based Cargill Salt through a joint-purchasing agreement led by the South Hills Area Council of Governments.

The contract requires communities to set an annual estimated usage amount. Communities are required to buy at least 80 percent of that amount for winter.

Last year, Monroeville bought 6,400 tons of the 8,000 it expected to use. This year, the municipality estimated it would need 6,000 tons, so it is committed to buying at least 4,800 tons from Cargill.

The cost has increased from $53.83 per ton in 2011-12 to $57.04 per ton in 2012-13, which still was the lowest bid received, Adams said.

Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or klawson@tribweb.com.

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