Florence running low on road salt, road crews concerned

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) - An issue is arising in northwest Alabama after three days’ worth of ice and snow has hit the roadways.

The Shoals' largest city is running out of salt to treat the streets, and they can’t get any more.

The Florence Street Department has gone into conservation mode with their dwindling salt supply. And even though it’s shipped into the city, they can’t get any.

Just before daybreak Wednesday, street department trucks started treating slick spots around Florence. With every load of salt spread on the city’s streets, their supply has gotten smaller and smaller with no way to replenish it.

“We get it from the port here in Florence. They bring it in by barge and unload it. TVA buys most of it, is my understanding. But everybody else that treats roads does to, and so there is not any surplus left,” stated Florence Street Department Director David Koonce. “There’s none we can get.”

For the foreseeable future, what they have in their storage bin is it. Koonce said all they can do is hope no more significant winter weather hits before they can find some salt to use.

“We’re trying to take care of the salt that we have,” Koonce explained. “We’re trying to not use much salt at this point in case it does get worse later in the week. We also use gravel and sand. We can get that readily. It will help; it just won’t melt the stuff.”

If winter weather does hit later this week, Koonce said they will first treat the areas around hospitals and other essential locations with the salt they have on hand.

Koonce added they did find a location in Ohio who does have some road salt for sale, but it’s just too far to travel to pick it up. He said they will do the best they can to make roads passable if the winter weather strikes on Friday.