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Salt Shortage Hits Central PA

Salt demand on the rise.
RICHLAND TOWNSHIP, CAMBRIA COUNTY - Across the entire East Coast the biggest problem right now is finding salt to treat the roads. For most of this winter our region was in good shape, but now a couple townships in our area are struggling. We talked to one crew tonight that is completely out for the 1st time in more than 20 years.
 
 “We had 250 tons on order. We got 50 ton on Friday but obviously we went through that in the last storm over the weekend,” Richland Township Public Works Director Rian Barker says.
 
Richland Township hasn't been able to keep up with the weather this winter.
 
For the first time in two decades this bin, normally filled with salt, is completely empty.
 
“This is probably the longest we've gone without being able to get salt,” Barker says.
 
They have had the supply ordered for the past few weeks, but it hasn't shown up yet.
 
“It's tough. You can't blame the townships. The whole East Coast is in a salt situation where they just can't get it,” Sean Hockensmith says. 
 
Hockensmith feels the townships pain. He owns two apartment complexes and a mobile home park in Richland, and he can't get supplies either.
 
“We're out of salt everywhere. I searched all over the place today looking for salt and finally found it in Windber,” Hockensmith says.
 
He is concerned about the roads though with more snow on the way.
 
“You have to wonder how safe the roads are and what the next month holds how much winter is still left,” Hockensmith says.
 
Barker is hopeful some salt will be delivered to them soon.
He says the township has plenty of anti-skid and liquid brine to put on the roadways, but that's not quite as effective as rock salt.
 
If the conditions get too bad, Barker says they'll turn to PennDOT to lend a hand with their 70 plus miles of roadway.
 
“It's frustrating but there's nothing you can do. I understand everyone wants salt and they had problems down south so it's just one of those things you have to put up with,” Barker says
 
Barker says that salt could be here as soon as late tonight. Most of the other townships we talked to say they're ok for now. Tyrone Township in Blair County though is one other township that is out of salt.  All of the areas orders go through American Rock Salt in New York. They released a statement last week saying they're mining 24/7 and doing their best to fill these orders as quickly as possible.
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