The high cost of salt could leave some Stateline roads covered in snow this winter. Last winter the price of salt was about $40 a ton. Winnebago and Ogle county are paying a little over $50 this year, but counties that didn't get in to the first round of bidding last spring, like Boone and Stephenson county, are paying as much as two and a half times more this winter.
The Stephenson county highway department says if this winter is as bad as last winter they simply won't be able to afford to keep the roads clear all the time. Boone county has had to take some money out of their reserve.
"Other years we have used strait salt on the roadways quite a bit of the time, but now we're mixing it all with chips and we'll probably be using the chip-salt mixture to help keep the cost down." says Boone county engineer Richard Lundin.
The chip in the chip-salt mixture is actually crushed limestone which sells for about 4 dollars a ton and should help stretch their salt supply. Attorney General Lisa Madigan is looking into accusations of price gouging by the salt companies, but Lundin thinks the reason for the high price has more to so with supply and demand issues. Stephenson county chief engineer Chris Isbell says drivers will just have to be more careful this winter.