Norwalk DPW struggles to balance safety, salt shortage

An onboard computer monitors the application of road products in a Norwalk snow plow.

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk’s new shipment of road salt will be parsed out sparingly, Norwalk Department of Public Works Director Hal Alvord said Wednesday. DPW crews are not pre-treating the roads with the latest weather event rolling in, but are holding the salt to be able to prevent freezing roads Thursday evening, he said.

The DPW has gotten enough road salt to last one storm, he said.

The unusually harsh winter nationwide has made it difficult for road salt distributors to keep up with the demand, and shortages have been reported from the Midwest to New England.

“We got 356 tons,” he said. “We are not pre-treating. We are not going to salt schools or city building parking lots or driveways. We are not going to salt while we are plowing. We’re going to conserve our salt because we have no idea when we’re going to get more.”

Mayor Harry Rilling has declared a snow emergency effective at 8 p.m. Alvord said. At 4 p.m., he said, the weather forecast was “still all over the place.”

“The Weather Service says 1 to 2 inches before sunrise, 2 to 4 inches during the day – but that could turn to rain or sleet/rain, freezing rain, all that kind of stuff, and then it’s going to go back to snow again. So the overall forecast here is 4 to 9 inches. Then it’s going to freeze again tomorrow night so we’re going to conserve as much salt as we can for the ice that’s going to form after dark Thursday night.”


One response to “Norwalk DPW struggles to balance safety, salt shortage”

  1. Auntie

    Just a few reminders: If you see wires down stay well clear and call 911 and give the exact location of where the wires are down. If you can note a pole number that helps but stay well clear of any wires. If your power goes out and your a -CL&P- customer report your outage to CL&P @ 800-286-2000. CL&P customers can access the outage map on the net and through smart phones @
    If your a -SNEW- customer report your outage to SNEW @ 203-866-3366. Crews cant begin repairs if no one reports it.
    Its common sense in a (declared) storm emergency to keep off the roads and vehicles out of the plow crews way. With expected ice accumulations common sense also tells us to not park under trees, if at all possible, as the heavy accumulated ice takes down branches that will damage whatever is underneath, (wires & windshields). Check your flashlights and batteries now and place them where they are easily accessible, in pitch darkness. Check on your neighbors and seniors and help each other. All pets must be sheltered inside and not near a space heater that may become a fire hazard. Speaking of which, careful, careful, careful with those candles. Hope the DPW crews aren’t stingy on the salt on Maple street where ambulances need 24/7 access. Now, where are my battery jumping cables?

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