Ice across Illinois is simultaneously increasing the demand and decreasing the available supply of the salt needed to melt it away. The partially frozen Illinois River is causing barges carrying salt to slow down and forcing companies to use smaller tows to break the ice. While some Central Illinois communities have been able to rely on their stockpiles of salt from the previous two winters, others are close to running out.
Barge operators say icy rivers are a problem almost every year, but this year’s frequency of winter storms has made it tough. Locally, most municipal salt supplies are holding for now but numerous additional winter weather events will start to put a strain on the amount. Alton began adding aggregate to its salt supply in an attempt to make the city stockpile last longer.