CUMBERLAND, R.I. (WPRI) — It’s been happening not only to snow removal contractors across Rhode Island, but also in Massachusetts and Connecticut too: Contractors being cut off by their salt supply vendors and told to wait a period of time or look elsewhere.
With this winter continuing to be busy, many companies like New England Snow Management need a supply of salt to help treat roadways and parking lots for their clients. Owner Rui Felix says he employs 10 plow drivers and four designated shovelers who cover mostly commercial locations around Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Earlier this week, he found out that his normal salt supplier was cutting him and every other contractor off, most likely due to a salt shortage, or perhaps the fear of one.
“My supplier in town here has stopped all sales of salt to all of the vendors because he needs to honor his state contracts,” Felix explained. “I’m not quite sure right now if it’s a salt shortage or the fear of a salt shortage.”
Felix said he and his company won’t let that stop them from getting the job done.
“I now have to find other areas and other vendors, smaller vendors, to purchase salt at 1.5 times the higher price that I’m paying now,” he said. “Obviously, I have to honor my contracts and absorb the cost and do the right thing, but it’s becoming a problem.”
Felix assured his drivers won’t try to use less salt as a result.
He also had a message for any drivers out of the roads when it’s snowing.
“All I can say is if you see a plow truck, just let them do their job. They’re there to help you,” he said. “If we can get that area cleaned up quicker, the better off you’ll be.”
12 News reached out to the R.I. Department of Transportation about the potential salt shortage. A spokesperson said they’re not affected by it at this time, and their crews will be treating the roadways as needed.
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