Hoarding our road salt at MetLife Stadium, public safety on icy roads a public health hazard: Salt on our wounds, Jersey style
Read official Met Life brag sheet, below: "NJTA and NJDOT have the capacity to stockpile nearly 60,000 tons of salt within 30 miles of the stadium. Statewide, the storage capacity for both agencies jumps to 222,000 tons." - official pr from state of NJ and Met Life Stadium
Thousands of pounds of precious and much needed road salt is sitting in East Rutherford at MetLife stadium, instead of being distributed to the hundreds of towns who have desperately begged for this life saving salt over the past few days here in New Jersey.
And, like a path of salt crumbs visible to all, this line leads from East Rutherford to Trenton.
The state Sports Authority, a department under the New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's command, controlled the MetLife organization and plans for road safety, including the wise decision to protect Super Bowl day from potential snow or ice threats to travelers.
But the Super Bowl, as we all know, was a warm day, well above freezing.
As word spread that New Jersey and our area was about to be slammed by a major impact storm, packing an icy wallop and creating roads that will resemble ice skating rinks, local DPW directors started calling and searching for road salt.
After all, it's been a very tough and wet winter, and the salt is low everywhere.
The state uses one major provider of salt, International Salt, who distributes their road salt from the ports of Newark.
An eyewitness from one of the 8 towns I cover told me yesterday he was not only shocked but dismayed by what he saw last week, when he went again back to Port Newark to try to get more road salt.
In fear of retribution, he asked to remain anonymous.
"There were 150 -200 big trucks, filled with the salt, our salt," he said, obviously upset. "I asked for salt, and the guy there told me they were too low, and that it was there, on those trucks, headed to Met Life stadium for the Super Bowl."
At a major press conference on December 18, 2013 at Met Life Stadium the officials were proud to tell readers and the press that they were very ready to battle snow - and ice.
At the press conference at Met Life stadium where state officials bragged about their ice/snow readiness on December 13 New Jersey Department of Transportation Deputy Commissioner Joseph Mrozek proudly said they had “820” vehicles and around “60,000 tons of salt” and also a “quarter of a million gallons of brine and 850,000 gallons of liquid calcium in storage”, a mix that treats salt when the temperatures go below freezing.
Mrozek said, at the time, “We have the trucks, we have the manpower and we have the supplies to fight any major event.”
Yesterday, I called the towns I cover: Nutley, Montclair, Caldwell, West Caldwell, and Roseland among others. But I also called East Rutherford, where the person who answered the phone laughed and said, "We need salt too. And it's right in town but we can't get to it."
Calls to the governor's office were never returned, though the staff did instruct me to call Timothy Greeley from the department of transportation (no answer to my 3 calls) and Joe Dee at the department of transportation (no answer to my calls).
After 5:00 p.m., someone left me a voice mail with no information.
Everyone is low on salt, and Essex County spokesperson Anthony Puglisi said that they have enough "for their needs" for this storm, but they do know towns are low on salt.
The 150 - 200 trucks delivered this precious salt to Met Life stadium last week, before the game. Each truck holds thousands of pounds of road salt, and could easily salt roads for hundreds of our local towns.
But no matter how many calls the DPW departments make to the state begging for salt, their pleas are unanswered.
Sure, there is a road salt shortage.
But at least for this epic ice storm today, there could have been relief for hundreds of towns within a 9 mile radius of Met Life Stadium. These towns have trucks that could have picked up that salt, using it for their treacherous roadways - the same streets that first responders such as our police and fire fighters must travel upon to save our lives.
FROM THE OFFICIAL STATE PRESS RELEASE ABOUT SNOW/ICE PREPAREDNESS AT MET LIFE STADIUM
New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) and New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA)
In the event of snow, NJDOT will be prepared to clear all roadways of snow, ice, and disabled vehicles.
Within a 30-mile radius of the Meadowlands Sports Complex, NJDOT and NJTA have 821 agency-owned or contractor trucks ready to spread salt or plow snow.
In addition to the 821 trucks in the region surrounding the stadium, the agencies have another 2,400 trucks available – for a statewide inventory of more than 3,200 trucks.NJTA and NJDOT have the capacity to stockpile nearly 60,000 tons of salt within 30 miles of the stadium. Statewide, the storage capacity for both agencies jumps to 222,000 tons.. Statewide, the storage capacity for both agencies jumps to 222,000 tons.
Both agencies use brine to pre-treat roads before a storm arrives and have a statewide total of 255,000 gallons of storage capacity.
NJDOT and NJTA adds liquid calcium chloride to the rock salt when temperatures fall well below the freezing mark, and have a statewide capacity of about 840,000 gallons of liquid calcium chloride.
A Command and Control structure, including GPS tracking capability in NJDOT and contractor trucks, allows deployment of resources where they are needed most – be it salt spreaders, plows, or front-end loaders.
Updates to follow.