Long Winter Takes its Toll on County Salt Supply

The Marathon County Highway Department is doing all they can to keep the roads clear and traffic running smoothly after Thursday's latest blast of winter weather, extending what has already been an unusually long and harsh winter.

Despite using more than 20,000 tons of salt this winter, Operations Superintendent at the Marathon County Highway Department, Dan Raczkowski, says he's not worried about running out of salt.

"We're still hoping mother nature turns the corner fairly soon, but we should be able to make it through the rest of the season."

Five salt sheds throughout the county are still stocked, granted some more than others.

While Marathon County may be doing okay, Raczkowski says other counties in the state aren't as lucky. Typically, the salt supplied to Marathon County comes from Green Bay, but Raczkowski says the supply there is gone.

"A lot of our salt this year came from unconventional places," he explains. "Meaning they trucked it all the way from Milwaukee up here to Central Wisconsin and a lot of stuff we've been receiving has come out of St. Paul, Minnesota."

Crews have used more salt than average to treat four-lane state highways this year, but thanks to the brutally cold temperatures they were able to use a sand-salt mixture on two-lane state highways and county roads saving their salt supply.

Now that the days are getting longer and roads, believe it or not, are warming up Raczkowski says the hardest part is behind us.

"As the temperature goes up, you can get bye using less salt to get the same results."

The next thing the Highway Department will have to worry about will be frost and flooding.

"We're going to have to watch if it warms up really fast we're probably going to be dealing with water issues and frozen culverts, different things like that.," Raczkowski tells NewsChannel 7.

Marathon County has been re-stocking all their salt since January. The county got their last shipment of salt three weeks ago. Raczkowski says he thinks it will be the last shipment of the season.

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