The Way I See It!

I am an Ultra-Conservative, Alpha-Male, True Authentic Leader, Type "C" Personality, who is very active in my community; whether it is donating time, clothes or money for Project Concern or going to Common Council meetings and voicing my opinions. As a blogger, I intend to provide a different viewpoint "The way I see it!" on various world, national and local issues with a few helpful tips & tidbits sprinkled in.

Cudahy Road Salt Situation

Cudahy, DPW, Roads

TO:                 Common Council, Board of Public Works

FROM:           Mary Jo Lange, Director of Public Works

CC:                 Mayor John Hohenfeldt

DATE:                        January 28, 2014

RE:                  Road Salt Application



We have just taken all of our contracted salt for the season.  We asked about purchasing additional salt, which our salt supplier told us in early January – “they had a lot of”.  But that has changed and we have been informed by our road salt supplier that they are not able to get any in the Midwest.  This is due to the extreme winter conditions in the plain states and Midwest.  I called other communities and counties and they are all at critically low levels.  Most have gone with a salt – sand mixture.


Luke and I discussed our options and priorities.  Priority roadways were set based on volume, speed and injury impact.  Although we do not like to use sand due to water quality issues, we will have to resort to a salt-sand mixture in order to get us through the next 6 to 8 weeks.  So the following directive has been issued:


  • Pennsylvania & Lake Dr will get 100% salt and liquid chloride – these roadways carry significant amounts of traffic at high speeds and do not have the protection of a center median.  Therefore the incidence of a severe injury resulting from an out of control vehicle is more likely on these two roadways then on any others.
  • Packard, Nicholson, Whitnall, Grange, College & Ramsey – An application of a salt-sand mixture will be done near intersections and mid-blocks on these roadways.
  • Secondary Roadways – all other roadways will get an application of a salt-sand mixture only at the intersection and on hills or curves.
  • Alleys – right now we will not be applying any salt to alleys.  These are very low speed alleyways that serve only the residents on the alleys.  We may apply sand when conditions warrant.
  • Watermain breaks & sump pump discharges -  These issues will get a salt-sand application.  People need to drive for conditions.  If conditions on local roadways jeopardize safety – we will close the roadway down to through traffic and only allow adjacent property owners access. 


I understand that the residents will be critical of the above approach, but it is necessary for the overall safety of the traveling public.  We are not alone and we are doing better than most agencies at this point.


People may ask how agencies can run out of salt?  The City like most agencies lock into a salt contract in May.  We base our budget and consumption on a 10-year history.  In addition, the City only has a storage facility for about 500 tons.  For a typical winter we use about 1600 tons.  We budget and lock into a contract for 2000 tons for the season.  At the end of the season if you do not use all the salt you “locked” into, you are required to take it before April 15th.  If you don’t have room to take it you have to find a covered facility and pay to have it stored.  So you don’t want to order more than a typical winter.  This winter the Department used about 1600 tons from December 1 to January 27th.


So if you get any questions or complaints about the road conditions – please send the calls to the Department of Public Works.



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