Some local street departments trying to keep roads bland the remainder of this winter say they need Cargill to pass the salt.
Merrillville is among several Northwest Indiana communities receiving road salt orders from Cargill through a state quantity purchase agreement, Merrillville Town Manager Bruce Spires said.
The agreement indicates orders are expected to be delivered within nine calendar days after an order is placed.
Spires said Merrillville has been waiting five weeks for a road salt order from Cargill to be delivered.
He said each community involved in the agreement submitted a quantity of salt it will purchase.
Each entity is required to buy 80 percent of that quantity, Spires said. The entities also are allowed to buy up to 120 percent of the amount they submitted.
Spires said Merrillville is "well below" the 120 percent and has sufficient funding to buy salt, but the town hasn't been able to get timely deliveries from Cargill.
He is among many local officials concerned about treating roads with salt supplies dwindling.
Chesterton Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg said the area is "getting into the season" when ice storms are possible.
He said street departments have to use more salt when ice forms than they would after snow falls.
Chesterton has received portions of road salt orders after they are placed with Cargill, Schnadenberg said.
To keep up with salt demands, Cargill is working its three mines overtime, Cargill spokesman Mark Klein said in an email.
Other issues impacting deliveries is the way the weather has impacted transportation.
"We work with all of our customers and try to prioritize shipments to where they are needed as soon as possible," Klein said.
Marcus Malczewski, the Lake County Highway Department superintendent, said he ordered 2,000 tons of salt from Cargill on Jan. 13. So far, the department has received 400 tons from that order.
Many local departments have been mixing sand into their road salt supplies to make them last longer.
Al Hoagland, supervisor of the Porter County Highway Department, said the low salt supply has forced the department to start using liquid de-icing products to treat roads, but he prefers to use salt.
Hoagland said he ordered 400 tons of salt from Cargill Jan. 20. He has received only 22 tons from that order, he said.
Griffith Public Works Director Rick Konopasek said Griffith didn't encounter issues receiving salt orders from Cargill this winter because the town ordered its entire allotment early in the season.
Griffith now has to buy salt from another entity because it has received the maximum amount it can obtain through the state quantity purchase agreement, Konopasek said.