Georgia struggled to beef up salt supply before last storm | www.myajc.com

6
Mar

Georgia struggled to beef up salt supply before last storm | www.myajc.com

As a second winter storm in two weeks threatened Atlanta in mid-February, the state and local governments around the region were in a behind-the-scenes scramble for salt.

Just hours before sleet and freezing rain began to fall, more than 3,400 tons of salt were delivered in the nick of time. The arrival replenished supplies the previous storm had depleted, and narrowly averted a full-scale shellacking of metro Atlanta area roads that could have resulted in another catastrophic traffic shutdown.

Nobody wants such a close call again. And nobody wants a repeat of all the nail-biting and jockeying it took to get those salt shipments. GDOT officials are now looking at increasing their salt storage capacity. At the same time, the Severe Weather Task Force convened by Gov. Nathan Deal is considering how to create a more reliable salt supply chain in case back-to-back winter storms threaten the state again.

The total cost for the two storms has yet to be fully tallied. But so far this season, GDOT has wound up spending close to a million dollars on salt, according to GDOT chief engineer Russell McMurry.

What prompted the salt shortage was a series of unfortunate events, according to emails from top officials in the Georgia Department of Transportation obtained exclusively by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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