Lakewood is running low on salt; streets are in bad shape

LAKEWOOD, OH (WOIO) - Lakewood's salt supply is running precariously low, and the city's streets have suffered as a result.

Morton, the contracted company that provides the city's salt, has failed to deliver the 1,000 tons back-ordered by the city.

Lakewood Mayor Michael Summer has been fielding calls all day from residents. And just like an umpire, not everyone likes what he has to say.

"Unfortunately, we are almost out of salt.  We have ordered almost 2,200 tons and have only received 900 tons and we need that extra salt," said Mayor Summers.

Lakewood has now placed orders with other vendors, but without a contract the city is not high on their priority lists. 

One of most pedestrian-friendly cities in the state, Lakewood is dependent on the salt to keep the roadways clear and safe.

While the city waits for delivery, plow trucks have been on the streets around the clock to clear the accumulation of snow and ice. However, the removal of the final veneer of snow requires salt.

Mayor Michael Summers said that keeping the streets safe is a priority, hindered by the short supply. "We are doing everything we can to ensure the safety of our residents," he said. "And getting salt to clear our streets is a big part of that. Unfortunately, we have had promises repeatedly broken by Morton."

The issue has also been compounded by the frequency of snowfall, the frequency of the need for salt and the extreme cold, which requires more salt than usual.

"We're not getting deliveries," added Summers.

The city is focusing its remaining salt on hills and intersections until more arrives. Officials from Morton have promised that more salt is coming this week.

Meanwhile, the city is looking into its contractual remedies against Morton and is also trying to purchase salt from other government agencies.

Other cities, such as Canton, have found themselves in similar situations with Morton, which won a statewide public bid for salt supply. The Ohio Department of Transportation is also still waiting on 1,500 tons from Morton.

"And until our suppliers come through for us, we've got to be careful about how we drive," added Summers.

Copyright 2014 WOIO. All rights reserved.