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Official 'moderately confident' of road salt supply : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Official 'moderately confident' of road salt supply
If Mother Nature cooperates, Montgomery should have enough for winter's waning weeks

by John Etheredge


This winter's multiple sub-zero days and frequent snowstorms have created a regional shortage of road salt, but Mike Pubentz, the Village of Montgomery's public works director, said Tuesday he is "moderately confident" the village already has enough salt on hand to get through the rest of the winter.

Pubentz said his department currently has about 500 tons of road salt at the public works department site off Knell Road with an additional 200 to 300 tons on back order under terms of a contract with the State of Illinois.

Pubentz said the department's snowplow drivers typically spread between 60 to 100 tons of salt on village streets following a snow or ice storm.

Depending on weather conditions and the delivery of the additional salt, Pubentz said the village should have enough salt for the rest of the winter.

But to assure an adequate salt supply, he said the department recently modified its salting practices.

"We are focusing our salting on primary routes and making a single pass on secondary routes," he said.

By reducing the salting on secondary routes, Pubentz said he is hopeful the department will use approximately 60 tons of salt per storm.

In the meantime, Pubentz said he remains hopeful that the village will receive the 200 to 300 tons of previously ordered salt and is also seeking to purchase additional salt from other vendors. He noted that one vendor told him they are out of salt, while another has placed the village on a waiting list.

Pubentz noted that the salt shortage is developing due to high demand by street and highway departments throughout northern Illinois. In addition, he said salt is delivered to terminals on barges in central Illinois and the recent subzero temperatures have caused the Illinois River to freeze, slowing salt deliveries to vendors.

Pubentz said his department is well within its salt budget for the current fiscal year. He said that it has spent between $100,000 to $110,000 on salt this winter, well under the $160,000 previously budgeted.

Board member Theresa Sperling told Pubentz that she appreciates the public works department's continuing effort to monitor the village's salt supply.

Sperling said she recently learned of another municipality that had run out of salt.

Board member Stan Bond noted that the village had posted information on its Facebook page to inform the public about which streets the village is responsible for plowing and salting.

He suggested the village post the same information on the village's website "so that information is constantly there" for village residents to read.

Bond said many of the complaints he has received from residents about snow plowing pertain to roads or highways in the village that are not the village's responsibility.

In addition, he said there has been some incorrect information in postings placed on the village's Facebook page.

"The quicker we can reduce the confusion, the better," Bond said.

Board member Steve Jungermann said he had read the same Facebook posts and agreed with Bond "there is a lot of misinformation" concerning which agency is responsible for plowing and salting streets and highways in the village.

Referring to the Facebook posts, Jungermann said, "People are talking about SSA (Special Service Area) taxes and all kinds of things on there. SSA taxes have nothing to do with it."

Continuing, Jungermann voiced support for Pubentz and the public works department's effort to conserve the village's salt supply during this week's sub-zero cold snap.

He said, "Mike (Pubentz) is right. Once the temperatures reach a certain level, salt is not effective. I don't think we should go out and waste it. People are just going to have to drive more carefully. God forbid if we actually drive at or under the speed limit, all be courteous to one another and just take a little longer to get where we need to go. That's how we're going to get through this."

The Illinois Department of Transportation is responsible for plowing and salting U.S. Routes 30 and 34 and Ill. Route 31 in the village, while the Kane County Division of Transportation plows county-owned roads in the Kane County portion of the village, including Montgomery Road and Orchard Road. The Kendall County Highway Department is responsible for plowing Orchard Road and Galena Roads in the Kendall County portion of the village. In addition, township highway departments provide plowing and salting service on township roads that adjoin municipal limits.

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