McMinn County nearly runs out of salt to treat icy roadways - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

McMinn County nearly runs out of salt to treat icy roadways

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The snow and ice this past weekend created quite the mess for drivers in East Tennessee which was the scene of many crashes.
McMinn County salt trucks treated icy roads more than once and officials say they nearly ran out of salt. 

Any conversation about salt snow and ice is frustrating for McMinn Highway Commissioner Dan Evans, he says it's a guessing game each year of how much salt they'll need and where they'll need it most and there's never enough. 

"It's expensive for one thing," said Dan Evans. " We're just trying to do the best we can with what we've got to deal with." 

The problems is the department's covered storage shed can only hold around 160 to 180 tons of salt. That may sound like a lot but it's not nearly enough to treat the 800 miles of roadway in the county. 

"I would like to increase the amount of storage capacity I have in the future and to be able to at least get another 3rd or 30 percent, I'd feel more comfortable," said Evans. 

Evans says the department's supplier can restock the shed but they're closed on weekends.

"This last time it was extremely hard to deal with because of the extreme temperatures," said Evans. "It froze hard real quick and it wouldn't plow. There's no way I can get across 800 miles of road so we basically choose the more traveled, we work them, especially the hills and the curves."

Crews can't get to every secondary roadway. Officials say drivers should be extra careful in the event of severe weather. 

While Evans is optimistic about building a larger shed in the future, he's prepared to battle the elements as best he can.

"If it snows again we'll go to war again," said Evans. 

Evans says there are a total of 5 salt trucks on the road with 2 more salt spreader trucks being added to the fleet later this year. 

The department received a new shipment of salt on Tuesday. Heavily traveled roadways take first priority in the event of severe weather. 

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