Judge Gabbard Report: Why Don't We Use Salt to Melt Ice on County Roads?

February 09, 2024
County Judge Executive Shane Gabbard County Judge Executive Shane Gabbard

February has arrived and with it some much milder weather. We survived the brutal cold that we had in January as well as the snow without any major setbacks. I have people ask me from time to time why we don't use salt for ice melt on County roads. There are 2 main reasons. First is the cost. The cost of salt is $125 per ton. We used around 200 ton of sand in this last snow event. Sand costs us roughly $14 per ton. That's $2800.00. If we had used salt, it would have cost $25,000. Our budget just doesn't allow for that kind of cost. Kentucky transportation district 11 encompasses 8 Counties, which includes Jackson County. They maintain the State roads in our County. KYTC District 11 spent roughly 1.3 million in salt in 8 counties. Around $180,000 of that was in Jackson County alone.

The second reason we don't use salt on County maintained roads is the damage it causes to the asphalt surface. If salt gets in a crack, it will cause some major damage if it gets under the pavement. We struggle to keep roads from having pothole problems and salt would only make that worse. These are just a couple reasons we dread to see snow and bad weather come in our area.

This past week, members of the Fiscal Court and I attended the Kentucky County Judge Executives Association winter conference. We shared ideas with other Fiscal Courts as well as gained some important information on projects and grants that will be made available in the near future to counties. The networking we were able to participate in is always helpful because many other counties in Kentucky share some of the same challenges that we do. We heard updates from the Governor, leaders of the State Legislature, State Auditor Allison Ball, Secretary of State Michael Adams, Attorney General Michael Coleman as well as may other leaders of business and Government in our State. The takeaways from these types of meetings are always beneficial.

Have a blessed week