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Long winter brings salt shortage, steeper prices
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CHICAGO (AP) - As piles of snow grow taller during this seemingly endless winter, the mounds of salt for spreading on the nation's icy, slushy roads are shrinking, forcing communities to ration supplies or try exotic new ice-melting substances. Cities have already gone through most of their salt well ahead of the time they traditionally really need it - when the coldest part of winter gives way to temperatures just warm enough to turn snow into freezing rain and sleet and roads into ribbons of ice. "If we don't get the salt, at some point people are going to be sliding all over the place like what you saw in Atlanta," said Julius Hansen, public works director in the Chicago suburb of Glen Ellyn, citing last week's television images of thousands of motorists getting stranded on ice-covered roads in the South.

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