Nicholas Co. using cinders during salt shortage

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NICHOLAS COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - Nicholas County Emergency Management director Calvin Denton says it has been an exceptionally harsh winter that just won’t let up.

"It seems like we get rid of one storm there's another one right behind it. It's worn the road crews out," he said.

It's also worn out their salt supply and Denton says they can’t afford to buy more salt at inflated prices.

“Where salt used to be $75 a ton now it is $250, $300 a ton,” said Denton.

So road crews have turned to plan B. They're using cinders, which are free and give drivers traction on the road. However, they don't effectively melt ice like salt does and roads can't be pretreated.

With another winter storm expected to drop more ice and snow in Nicholas County Sunday and Monday, Denton says they’ll put the cinders to use.

"If it's ice we'll lay the cinders on top of the ice. If it's snow we'll try to plow and then put the cinders behind it," he said.

Denton says they have enough cinders on hand to last through this storm but beyond that he's not sure how long their supply will last.

He says they'll take another look at their cinder supply after the storm passes to see what they need to do to have enough cinders to last the rest of winter.

Nicholas County isn't the only central Kentucky county that’s been forced to use something other than salt.

During a recent salt shortage in Estill County road crews used gravel on snowy roads.

Denton says the non-stop winter weather has worn him thin.

"It's just been a long, hard, drawn out winter and it's time for a break," he said.

County officials say even though their crews have been working long hours, the road department is their strongest budgeted item so they don't have to cut back on any other services.

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