State road salt supply running critically low

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation said Monday it has just enough salt to get through one more storm, and snow is forecast for Tuesday.

The DOT said Saturday's storm put a strain on all resources, including salt supplies.

The DOT said it used limited salt to conserve the state's reserves. Because of that, the department warned that commuters have to be more aware of slippery, untreated surfaces.

The bulk supply of salt comes into Rhode Island into the Port of Providence. International Salt of Pennsylvania said the salt is mined in Chile and delivered to its customers by barge.

The DOT said a few weeks ago that it tries to stay three storms ahead with its salt supply. Asked about the current situation, the DOT referred NBC 10 to the state Emergency Management Agency, which said the state DOT has about 6,000 tons of salt on hand.

"From my understanding, it's between 3,000 to 5,000 tons per storm. But that's depending on how much snow we have, what roads, highways, secondary roads, and if a municipality needs help on the back roads. But from my understanding, it's between 3,000 and 5,000 tons used per storm," said Armand Randolph of the state EMA.

The DOT said the state is expecting deliveries of salt Monday and Tuesday from previously placed orders that will bring its reserves to 12,000 tons.

A representative for International Salt said for competitive reasons the company wouldn't reveal how much salt it has delivered to the Port of Providence so far this season.

But the company said in the 12-state region it serves, demand is up 136 percent this winter.