New shipment of road salt delayed another week

International Salt of Pennsylvania says a much-needed shipment of salt is delayed and might not get to Providence until next Wednesday or Thursday. It's putting the state of Rhode Island in quite a pinch.

The company said there's a delay at the shipping port in Chile. Instead of getting here Saturday as expected, it won't arrive until March 5 or 6 -- days after Monday's expected winter storm.

"We'll put ourselves on a very low sodium diet for storms," said Phillip Kydd, deputy director of the state Department of Transportation. "A high concentration of sand and salt mix and we'll do that in areas where we need to do it - primarily on the interstate, but also in high volume intersections."

Rhode Island said it has reached out to other states and other suppliers, but they haven't found anyone who can sell more salt to them.

"We currently have about 5,000 tons of salt on hand," Kydd said.

That sounds like a lot of salt to a normal person, but for Kydd it's nothing.

Makes sense, when you realize his crews are in charge of maintaining the equivalent of 3,300 miles of roadways, which is like driving from here to Seattle, Wash.

At least the state has some salt. Some cities and towns, including Providence, North Smithfield, Scituate and Foster, are out.

Normally the state would help, but this time around it doesn't have even a pinch to spare.

"We just have enough salt to fight the storm ourselves," Kydd said.

Monday's storm could leave the roads slippery than usual. The state is asking drivers to stay off the roads during the storm so crews can do their jobs.