Johnstown Independent

Johnstown, Monroe Township

Early winter taking toll on salt supplies

By ANDREW KING
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Winter hasn't officially begun, but its weather already has started to deplete salt supplies in Johnstown and Monroe Township.

Jack Liggett, service director for Johnstown, said the village's crews already have used about 100 tons of the 500 tons of salt the village keeps on hand -- before this weekend.

Similarly, Monroe Township zoning inspector Bill Smith, who also is in charge of roads, said the township already has used 50 tons, nearly half of what it used all of last winter.

Johnstown purchases salt through an agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation to coordinate the purchase of salt with other municipalities through Cargill. The larger the bulk orders, the lower the price for the village, Liggett said.

This year, he said, he ordered salt at about $48.50 per ton.

"It's a lot less than it's been for the last few years," he said. "We haven't had that much snow for the last few years, so a lot of people's salt piles are very large. They're stocked up."

Monroe Township has 100 to 150 tons of salt at any given time and orders its smaller volume of salt from Henderson Salt, whose large salt mounds are visible from Interstate 670.

Despite differences in suppliers and volume, both Johnstown and Monroe operate under similar instruction when weather approaches.

"We check the weather every day to see what snow is coming in and what's expected," Liggett said. "Based on that, I set up a crew for call-in. It's kind of a joint effort with the police department. They keep track of roads. As soon as there's any accumulation or it starts to get icy, they give us a call."

Both communities try to take care of the roads before people travel to work or school, and Smith said Monroe Township usually gets started about 3 or 4 a.m.

"We watch the weather radar, and we can tell when it's coming in, and we can go from there," he said. "It's usually 3 or 4 in the morning, and we try to get done around 6 for school and commuters."

Main roads are the primary concern for both Johnstown and Monroe. Each lists its priority streets to clear.

For Johnstown, Jersey Street and Edwards Road are of highest importance. Monroe also prioritizes Edwards Road, as well as Green Chapel Road and Fancher Road.

As long as neither community is a city, ODOT takes care of state and U.S. routes, such as state Route 37 and U.S. Route 62, taking a large portion of the main roads to both Johnstown and Monroe.

Although the two communities keep to themselves with no overlap in road maintenance, Liggett said, he's confident that both would work together in a true snow-emergency situation.

"In an emergency, of course, those two government entities would work hand in hand, and we'd work together to solve it," he said. "And I think they would do the same for us."

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