State and local governments expect when buying road salt this year partly because of changes in the way the state awards winning bids for the product, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation.
State and local governments are expected to buy 1.1 million tons of salt this year to help melt snow and ice on Ohio's roadways.
The projected cost of all that salt is $40.1 million, or $35.83 per ton.
But salt prices are down 12 percent from 2012 and 33 percent from 2011.
ODOT said state and local governments would need to spend $5 million more on road salt this year if prices were at 2012 levels and $20 million more if they remained at 2011 levels.
In past years, salt companies had only one bidding option and were required to provide ODOT with an estimated price per ton of salt for each Ohio county, the department said.
ODOT awarded contracts to the lowest bid for each county.
But in 2012, ODOT changed this policy and gave salt companies the option to provide bids on much larger ODOT districts, as well as individual counties.
"We provided more options that could help drive down the costs a little bit," said Steve Faulkner, ODOT spokesman.
Faulkner said savings from cheaper salt purchases provides the state with more money for major construction projects, such as the widening of Interstate 75 in Montgomery County.
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