The weeks are running out when our roads will be dry and clear.  The transportation department is ready.  The equipment that handled last year’s bad winter has been cleaned, repaired, replaced when needed, and is ready for whatever winter throws at Missouri.

Forecasts vary about the kind of winter we’ll have.  At least one almanac says it’s going to be bad. Others say it won’t be any worse than last year.

Transportation Department engineer Tim Chojnacki (shuh-NOCK-ee), says the ice-fighting salt is piling up to fight whatever winter comes to Missouri.  “We can store about 220,000 tons of salt statewide,” he says.  That’s more than the department usually uses in a normal winter.  If the department runs low, it can get more from its five suppliers including one as far away as South America.

The department also used 900 tons of beet juice and calcium chloride–liquids that will work better on icy roads when the temperature dips lower than 15 degrees. The bad news is that salt prices have jumped about thirty percent since last year.  Chojnacki says that means additional spending to fight winter will mean less money available for road and bridge work in the Spring.

AUDIO: MODOT’s Chojnacki talks about winter road plans  (6:45)