Stormy winter draws down Md. salt stockpile

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Local,Maryland

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — An unusually high number of winter storm threats this season has drawn down the state's road salt stockpile to a less-than-ideal level, the State Highway Administration said Tuesday.

The statewide stockpile was at 76 percent of capacity with a storm approaching Tuesday night and another on the weekend horizon, spokesman David Buck said. He said there's no shortage, but the agency hasn't had time to replenish the supply after a storm Sunday night and Monday.

"We have more than enough to get us through this storm and even the next storm, but the back-to-back nature of these storms certainly has us keeping our eyes on supplies," Buck said.

He said the agency generally likes to start a storm activation with its 91 salt domes averaging at least 80 percent full.

Buck said with the number of storm threats this season, the agency has activated crews in the Baltimore-Washington area 25 times since late November, compared with 10 to 15 by this time the past two years, he said.

Buck said salt storage units are as low as 60 percent in southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, areas that have received more snow than usual this winter. The agency can move salt within regions of the state to ensure an adequate response, he said.

Buck said the agency has tried to use salt more efficiently since 2010, when three big snowstorms, including two back-to-back, contributed to low salt stockpiles at some locations.

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