By Desirée Taylor
Jersey City road crews hit the streets early this morning, pre-treating highways with brine. The saline mixture requires less salt than the usual truck spreaders and helps conserve the city’s salt supply, which is running low after back to back storms.
“Every storm it costs the city $150,000 and we use 800 tons of salt. We have about 350 tons on hand right now. We are hoping to get a shipment today before the next big storm,” said Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop.
Salt’s in short supply across the state, just as New Jersey prepares for this latest major winter storm.
“I know a lot of municipalities are challenged with salt, as is counties, as is the state because it’s been a brutal winter where it’s never gotten warmer so natural melting away has not happened. So we’ve been using more salt. So we’re continuing to work to get more salt into the state to be able to utilize it to help make travel safer,” said Gov. Chris Christie.
Kenilworth’s salt storage facility is virtually bare. DPW Superintendent Dan Ryan says Union County came to the rescue, giving them just enough to make it through the night — they hope.
“As you can see that is all the salt we have. We have maybe another seven or eight yards in one of our spreaders and that’s all we have left. I’m hoping it will be enough to get us through this storm,” Ryan said.
This harsh winter has also taken a toll on state resources. So far this season, the New Jersey Department of Transportation has spent about $70 million on snow removal — about $7 million more than last year — and winter is hardly over yet.
The pending nor’easter could also mean another day off for students. As the snow days begin to pile up, officials in school districts are flipping through their calendars, looking at options — bring students in on a Saturday or shorten winter or spring break.
“We had to pull back our Tuesday for next week and make that a regular school day and if we close tomorrow we will be coming on Friday,” said New Providence School Superintendent David Miceli.
Travelers are already feeling the impact of ice and snow, even before it hits New Jersey. At Newark Liberty International Airport, passengers lined up to reschedule cancelled flights and Amtrak has also scaled back service. NJ Transit will cross honor tickets starting tomorrow through Friday — so customers can use their passes on rail, light rail or buses.