Quad City salt supplies expected to last through winter

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Area public works directors say they're confident salt supplies and snow removal budgets will last through the winter, despite more snow headed to town this week.

In Rock Island, Public Works Director Randy Tweet said crews have used a little more than 50 percent of their salt stockpiles this winter. The city has also gone through a little more than half of its snow removal budget.

"We're comfortable. If you get the next six weeks that are bad, maybe it'll be a little different, but right now, we're feeling comfortable," said Tweet. "The overtime's a little higher than it normally would be, but we've had probably a year's worth of snow so far, so that's to be expected."

In Moline, overtime work is causing the most stress for city crews and budgets.

"This winter's brought snows that have come on the holidays with a lot of regularity, and they seem to come every weekend with regularity," said Doug House, general manager of municipal services.

Moline crews still have roughly 3,000 tons of salt on hand, though, and House believes that amount will last through the winter.

Across the river, Davenport ordered 11,000 tons of salt to start the season. Public Works Director Mike Clarke said the City had already used 8,500 tons before the past weekend's snow, so he purchased an additional 1,000 tons of salt.

Davenport is also looking at making a second additional purchase of 1,000 tons of salt to last through the winter.

New tools, though, are helping traditional salt go a little further this year. In January, Davenport installed a brine-making machine that mixes a saltwater solution with chemicals and beet juice.

"We spray that onto the salt, and it gives the salt an enhancement that makes it more effective at temperatures below 20 degrees, all the way down below zero," said Clarke.

So far, Davenport has spent approximately $950,000 to fight 25 separate winter weather events this season.

In Bettendorf, crews have used 5,600 tons of the city's 10,000-ton stockpile. The City also has a supply on reserve in Camanche, Iowa, that can be trucked in if needed.

Across the board, area public works directors Monday said they are watching their supplies and budgets closely -- and though they may be tired of winter, they're not worried.

"We're ready for it to be over, yeah," laughed Tweet.

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