New salt barn, salt-spreading techniques bolster Lexington’s winter-weather readiness

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – Possible winter weather is in the forecast, but how prepared is Lexington?

With the new salt barn on the south side of the city, crews will be able to work more efficiently. (Photo: WKYT/Adam Burniston)

In September, Mayor Linda Gorton and other city leaders held a "salt shoveling" ceremony to celebrate the construction of the city's second salt barn, out near the West Hickman Wastewater Treatment Plant in south Lexington.

Now, with the new barn complete, city officials say an additional 7,000 tons of salt will be stored inside, adding to the other 3,000 tons stored at the main facility.

"You're looking at 10,000 tons under cover, 2,000 under a tarp,” says Rob Allen, Deputy Director of Lexington Streets and Roads. “Having essentially what we use for the entire year on hand, that's really exciting for us."

With the new salt barn located on the south side of town, crews can be more efficient, since they can fill up at more than one location.

"We'll have that redundancy. If something goes wrong at one spot, we'll be able to work out of the other. So, you know, we're looking at a cost savings in fuel and time, too," says Allen.

Allen says, along with the new barn, road crews will be using a new technique this year, which will hopefully save salt and money for not only this year but for years to come.

"This year we're going to pre-wet our salt,” explains Allen. “That's been a technique for a long time, but we anticipate using 20% less salt just using this technique."

Along with the cost savings, this technique will also help drivers as salt should become more effective on roadways.

"Pre-wetting helps the salt stick to the road instead of scatter off or bounce off and that way we'll have to apply less," says Allen.

A dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new salt barn will be held on November 18.