Starke County Highway Department Preparing for Winter Weather

 Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler is shopping for less expensive road salt to use this winter. He told the county commissioners he’s already got one contract in place through the state bid process but is attempting to negotiate better prices with other suppliers who lost out on the state bid. Salt prices spiked this year as a result of last year’s harsh winter. Suppliers were contractually bound last season to sell salt at the agreed-upon price, so they are trying to recoup some of their losses. Ritzler told the commissioners he’s also ordering equipment and supplies necessary for the winter season. Crews are also starting to haul in sand, and he’s coordinating with the schools in the county to prepare snow plow routes and turnaround repairs. Ritzler adds initial long-range weather forecasts indicate a slightly colder winter with below normal snowfall levels.