Salt sellers in short supply as N.J. prepares for Nor’easter

People walk in a snow squall in Trenton, N.J. (AP file Photo/Mel Evans)

People walk in a snow squall in Trenton, N.J. (AP file Photo/Mel Evans)

New Jersey’s boss is urging workers to take a day off Thursday when a Nor’easter is expected to deliver a significant snowfall throughout the state.


“It might be a day to stay inside, and stay warm, and not worry about traveling around the roads too much. I want people to stay safe, and that’s the most important thing,” Governor Chris Christie said Wednesday during a briefing on storm preparations. “Then we’ll deal with travel, and schools, and businesses, and all the rest of that in descending order from there.”

Estimated accumulation totals range from 3 to 5 inches of snow in South Jersey and perhaps 10 inches or more in North Jersey.

As salting efforts began Wednesday, some municipalities are dealing with dwindling supplies — and no word on when their salt stores will be replenished.

“It’s forcing us to ration, to mix salt with sand, and to simply not apply salt to secondary roads and to local roads,” said Colts Neck Mayor Russell Macnow. “It’s causing a significant public safety issue for the township.”

The mayor, who said it’s frustrating not to have an adequate salt supply, urged residents to use extra caution when traveling on untreated side streets.

While towns may be running out of salt, the state and some county officials said they were well stocked in advance of the state’s 13th snowstorm of the season.

New Jersey Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Schapiro said there is enough salt to treat state highways.

“We do have plenty for this storm,” he said. “We should be fine for another few storms, and as the vendors are getting resupplied, everyone is taking deliveries, not as much as we’d like.”

And while Mercer County has enough salt to handle Thursday’s storm, there is not enough to share, said county executive Brian Hughes.

“That’s the problem. We’ve gotten requests from other counties. We’ve gotten requests from our municipalities that we would love to lend some salt to,” he said. “But we just don’t have the quantity that they’d be needing.”

And that means mayors including Macnow will just have to wait.

“We’re being told by the suppliers that anything that’s coming in off barges now are going to the state and to the Port Authority and then after that would be the counties,” he said. “So municipalities are going to be last in line.”

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