New Jersey

New Jersey Salts Roads for a Nonexistent Snowstorm

First it failed to prepare for a snowstorm. Then it overprepared.



This month, New Jersey residents have been able to experiece government underreaction and government overreaction in quick succession.

Just a few weeks prior, Gov. Phil Murphy was heavily criticized after a snowstorm resulted in 1,000 accidents, 2,000 calls for help, and the death of a woman whose car was stuck on the train tracks. Plows and salt trucks were unable to perform their tasks efficiently as commuter traffic clogged the roads. As governor, Murphy has the power to declare a state of emergency to shut down roads and redirect traffic. But because the intensity of the snowstorm was unpredictable, he argued, it was difficult to make a declaration prior to the emergency. Meanwhile, he maintained, it would not have made sense to declare a state of emergency "in the middle of the event."

This week the state veered in the other direction. Though the Wednesday forecast did not predict a snowstorm, the state's Department of Transportation (NJDOT) decided to preemptively salt the roads. This was an expensive undertaking: Brutal winter conditions last year ate up many salt reserves, and the price of salt has been skyrocketing.

Worse, the salt itself created unsafe driving conditions.

Meteorologist Gary Szatkowski, who accused the government of having a war on imaginary storms, asked if anyone had seen snow. Apparently there were a few flurries.

New Jersey drivers can look forward to traveling on salted roads for the next few days.