After months of being slammed by incessant winter storms that left roadways slick with ice and slush, towns in New Jersey and Pennsylvania have been suffering from a shortage of road salt, but help has finally arrived in the form 40,000 tons of salt from Chile ... just in time for a run of 50-degree days.
“We were extremely low because the state was extremely low,” said Mountainside, New Jersey’s Public Works Director Ronald Romak. “We have hills in this town that are treacherous, that are impassable, if we don’t keep up with plowing and salting.”
Relief has been tantalizingly close. One ship laden with Chilean road salt was docked in Maine, but was prevented from coming to New Jersey because of the 1920 Merchant Marine Act, which forbids a foreign vessel that has already docked at a U.S. port from docking at another without a waiver from the federal government.
Instead a 10,000-ton Connecticut-based barge was tabbed to shuttle the salt to New Jersey.
Now, a second ship arrived in the Port of Newark on Thursday morning, but still needs to clear customs, a process that could take a few days, Mary Kay Warner, marketing manager for International Salt Co. told the Newark Star-Ledger newspaper.
Once it passes through customs, the much-needed road slat will be shipped to towns across New Jersey and Pennsylvania that are running low on their supplies thanks to a series of devastating winter storms that have battered the region. The Connecticut barge is expected to arrive from Maine early next week.
“We’re looking forward to getting this shipment and it will be put to great use,” said Union County, New Jersey spokesman Sebastian D’Elia. “We’ve got 176 miles of road and every grain of salt that we can obtain counts.”