By Desirée Taylor
To combat icy streets and highways, road crews need salt, but supplies are running critically low in Lodi. Across Bergen County, towns face a salt shortage.
“Our supply as probably at about 20 percent of our capacity. We normally have about 400 tons of salt here but we will have enough salt to get through this storm. The next storm will be a problem,” said Lodi Superintendent of Public Works Brian Paladino.
Bergen County officials can’t help much. They’re rationing salt — giving municipalities just enough to get them through this storm. State officials blame back-to-back storms for delaying vendor deliveries of road salt, just as hard-hit towns need it most. Bergen County’s expecting a shipment of salt in a few days. Meanwhile, towns do have alternatives.
“There are ways to get around it. If we had to we can use sand or grit,” Paladino said.
Here is Essex County, salt reserves are lower than normal this time of year but enough to get the job done say GPW officials.
“We weren’t hit this hard last year. January has been tough and February isn’t looking any better,” said Sal Macaluso.
Crews did their best to clear the roads, but slippery ice caused numerous accidents.
Traveling by train also wasn’t easy. NJ Transit rail service stopped temporarily on two heavily traveled lines this morning. Transit officials say ice and snow accumulating on overhead lines caused serious delays.
“As we’ve seen today, it’s been a challenging storm. Upwards of half an inch of ice. The key is time, patience and caution,” said John Durso of NJ Transit.
But patience was wearing thin for some NJ Transit rail passengers.
“I started in Hamilton, got stuck in Newark. The train broke three times. They suspended all trains, so here I am. God bless NJ Transit,” said Randy Bak of Columbus.
“Just getting over there the streets were all crazy and once I got in there every train was delayed. I sat there for about over an hour and just showed up on time here,” Patrick Corley said.
“A lot of delays, I waited for like almost an hour and a half before getting the train,” said Fred Dancer.
Air travelers faced similar problems with hundreds of flights canceled or delayed at Newark Liberty International Airport. And there may be no rest for the weary because forecasters are predicting another storm will hit New Jersey this weekend.