Dear UMBC Students, Faculty and Staff,
I hope you have been safe and warm during this latest storm.
Due to an unusual number of storms this year, the mid-Atlantic region is experiencing a severe and widespread salt shortage. I am writing to share the challenging news that the State Highway Administration (SHA) has closed down salt distribution due to lack of supply, which means UMBC will not be able to replenish our supply to our regular levels.*
In preparation for our return to normal operations tomorrow, grounds staff and contractors are hard at work clearing walkways. However, due to a shortage of both road salt and calcium for walkways, and the need to conserve these materials during the de-icing process, they will likely not be able to fully clear the pavement across campus.
We anticipate patches of snow and icy areas sporadically across the campus. Please do your best to come prepared for winter conditions, and please take great care as you navigate campus in the morning. If you encounter an area that is in particular need of clearing, please contact 410-455-2550 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SHA has indicated they hope to receive a salt shipment on Thursday, which we hope will enable us to replenish our supply. Until then, we ask for your patience and caution.
Vice President for Finance and Administration
*Update (3/14/2014): UMBC has received questions today about its relationship to the State Highway Administration regarding salt distribution, and therefore is providing more detailed information for better clarity, and to acknowledge the supportive partnership we have with SHA.
Each year, UMBC purchases its salt through a statewide contract. The State Highway Administration has generously agreed to store that salt in its facilities and to distribute it to UMBC as needed. This is a great benefit to UMBC because it means the campus doesn’t need to build its own storage facility.
Due to the significant number of extreme weather events this winter, UMBC has exhausted the salt it purchased and stored at the SHA facility. UMBC has ordered additional salt, but due to shortages across the country, it has not arrived.
As our grounds staff prepared for Sunday and Monday’s weather event, we requested a loan of salt from the State Highway Administration supply. In the past, when salt has been available, the SHA has been able to make such loans. However, it was not able to provide additional salt on Monday due to a lack of supply. The State Highway Administration was able to provide us a loan of 15 tons of salt from its supply today, March 4.