City road department sees increased salt usage; More used this winter than last two combined

The Middlesboro City Council met on Tuesday, with the panel sifting through a variety of city business.

Middlesboro Mayor Rick Nelson called for Street Department Superintendent Kevin Barnett to address the panel.

Barnett pointed out his department has recently been very busy dealing with winter weather.

“We’ve been pushing a lot of snow and using a lot of salt,” Barnett said.

Nelson inquired about the current price of salt.

“The last I heard, it was $128 a ton,” Barnett responded. “We’ve used close to probably 70, 80 tons.”

Barnett pointed out more salt has been used this winter than in the last two years combined.

He explained that the city has required more than its supply of salt, making it necessary for additional salt to be obtained from the state highway garage in Barbourville.

Barnett also explained the process for treating the city’s streets.

“We just use salt, we don’t have the equipment to put brine down,” he said.

He explained if the weather event starts as snow, streets can be pretreated with salt. However, if rain precedes the snow, pretreating with salt is not effective. He also explained every road is not completely covered with salt.

“A road like Exeter, it’s flat,” Barnett said. “We just do the intersection so you can pull back out, and we do our major hills.”

He said on the longer roads, salt will be put down at intervals so the traffic will spread it over the road.

“This is to conserve salt,” Barnett explained. “If you were to salt every road, we’d be at 300 or 400 tons right now.”

In other council activity:
• The council approved the minutes of the previous meeting.
• The council accepted submitted department reports.
• The council approved the appointment of Carolyn O’Boyle to a four-year term on the City Planning Commission.
• The council approved the appointment of Mable Smith to a four-year term on the City Planning Commission.