Supply issues continue to plague cities and could lead to serious problems as cities prepare for the coming winter as snow clearing materials are among those with rising costs.
Road agents and directors of public works departments in the region have noted an increase in sand prices, but an even more steep slope in the price of salt.
“The salt is far, very high,” said Bennington road agent Matt Blanchard.
“These increases are directly attributable to increased transportation and fuel costs, largely due to supply chain issues related to the global pandemic, as the majority of salt used in the country comes from overseas. Said Seth MacLean, Director of Public Works for Peterborough.
Salt prices in Peterborough have fallen from $ 63.16 per tonne last year to $ 78.49 per tonne this year. MacLean said the increase was not entirely unanticipated and that Peterborough’s superintendent of highways Tim Rose bought 100 tonnes of salt in July, while last year’s prices were still in effect. While Peterborough typically uses over 700 to 800 tonnes of salt, this extra stock has helped reduce those extra costs.
Like many towns, Bennington buys his salt from Morton Salt in Portsmouth through a state offer. Morton’s salt price last year was around $ 56 per tonne. This year, that price has jumped to around $ 76 per tonne.
“This is the biggest price hike I’ve seen,” said Roger Trempe, road agent for Dublin. “Last season we even had a drop. But it is supply and demand. Like everything else, it’s increasing a lot this year.
Russ Boland, Lyndeborough city administrator, said the price increase for the city was $ 58 per tonne last year, and this year is $ 78 per tonne.
“We use 600 tonnes a year, which is an increase of $ 12,000 for us,” Boland said. “I actually called them to make sure it wasn’t a misprint, but no, it was.
Mike Cloutier, director of the public works department at Rindge, said he was told the explanation for the price hike lies mainly in shipping costs.
“Everything seems to be moving forward,” agreed Dave Morrison, Mason’s road agent.
Such a large increase in salt is made worse by the amount of salt cities use on their roads to control snow and ice in New England. Greenville, the smallest town in the Monadnock region geographically, has only about 11.5 miles of maintained roads, said truck officer Scott Leard, but still used around 330 tonnes of salt last year, and expects roughly the same usage this year.
With an increase in salt prices for Greenville from $ 55.65 per tonne this year to $ 78 per tonne expected next year, that means an increase of $ 7,375 for this item for the city.
Jim Morris, a road agent for Greenfield, said the city has about 12 miles of paved roads and uses between 90 and 120 tons of salt per year.
“Most of our roads are dirt so it’s not that bad,” Morris said.
But in a town like New Ipswich, which has a 54-mile drive, their salt use is considerably higher – around 1,000 tonnes per year, according to public works director Peter Goewey, making the increase even more difficult.
Other material costs are also increasing. Some cities have their own sand pits, but for those who buy sand from an outside supplier, these costs also increase, but not to the same level as the prices of salt.
Dublin expects to pay an additional $ 1 per yard for sand this year, from $ 14 per yard to $ 15 per yard.
In Peterborough, costs rose only 41 cents on sand, from $ 9.49 per yard to $ 9.90, which MacLean said directly contributed to the increase in fuel prices, which which makes sand more expensive to transport by truck.
Other costs associated with daily operations and road repairs are also on the rise.
“The cost of fuel is increasing. Parts are hard to find and they are more expensive. Unfortunately, ”Goewey said. “I hope we don’t have a breakdown this year.”
Morrison said he recently completed a road surfacing project and hot asphalt is also up around $ 2.20 a tonne, and he has no idea where prices might land. in spring.
The costs of plastic needed to repair culverts have also increased by about 30%.
“These things add up,” Morrison said.
Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 244, or [email protected] She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.