IDOT: Pass the Salt, Please

Rising salt prices may affect your winter commute

Break out your salt shakers, folks. This coming winter, the city may have to use its snow plows sparingly due to inflated prices of road salt.

According to state and local highway departments, rock salt sold for $40 a ton last year. Now, it's going for as much as $140 a ton.

The soaring prices have raised a few eyebrows at the Illinois attorney general's office, where an investigation into possible price-gouging is under way.

"Municipalities have reached out to our office with concerns about high and widely varying road salt prices," Robyn Ziegler, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Lisa Madigan, told the Chicago Tribune. "We are moving forward with the investigation."

Regardless of the reason though, the city will have to change how and when it removes winter ice.

"We no longer can plow and salt the pavement down to zero snow and ice," said Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Milton Sees. "We'll also use the sun to melt ice on the highway shoulders."

IDOT used approximately 840,000 tons of salt last winter, but officials explained this was higher than usual, as the season was one of the snowiest in 30 years. This winter, Sees is hoping to only use 500,000 to 600,000 tons.

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