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.

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  1. This is another example of why the idea of the government running health care concerns me.

    1. No no, that’s ok: the government has declared salt a menace to health, and now we see why — they need it for the roads.

      1. If we run out, we can salt the roads with frozen dinners. Those things are loaded with sodium.

  2. Government is incompetence personified.

    Businesses and people are just as incompetent — but they pay the price by losing money or going out of business. Government bans competition (cf the mafia) to stay in business. No wonder so many businesses strive to get in bed with government!

  3. The use of white salt to melt white snow is an obvious dog whistle. Attention must be paid.

    1. Kala namak, anyone?

  4. It’s hard to fault a politician for overpreparing for a snow storm. Underpreparing for a storm is the kind of thing that can get political dynasties kicked out of office.

  5. and the death of a woman whose car was stuck on the train tracks.

    I’ve never met Gov. Murphy and, as general policy, wouldn’t put it past him, but you’re going to have to show me video of him pushing this woman’s car onto the tracks before I consider him in any way responsible for this.

    1. Worse, the salt itself created unsafe driving conditions.

      Again, somebody from NJ tweeted that they almost spun out multiple times on the turnpike and we just assume the salt is to blame?

      I agree that Murphy isn’t making things better, but it’s just not fair for foist all of New Jersey’s faults on him.

      1. Wait a minute, are suggesting a voter fucked up?

        1. If it’s a Trump voter, I’m sure he’s the actual reason the previous snowstorm was worse than predicted, and coordinated with Russians to hack the weather reports.

  6. Ugh. So much salt over this decision.

  7. >>>death of a woman whose car was stuck on the train tracks

    may she r.i.p., was salt stopping her from getting out of car?

    1. Snow not salt. But yes they should explain it better if there indeed was neither warning nor escape for her.

    2. This is the next town over from me. She slid down a hill just as the train was coming. Terrible timing.

  8. In other news, predicting the weather is hard.

    1. Yeah, this. If they didn’t salt the roads and the snow came, they would be criticized for causing accidents through negligence. They were just playing it safe.

      1. The same year as Katrina, Rita came barreling toward Houston. The evacuation was a complete disaster. It took 10 hours to get from Houston to Dallas on I-45. I was clever enough to use farm roads and made it in only 5 which isn’t much longer than normal.

        Texas responded by building hurricane lanes and contraflow barriers, but when Ike came along (and Harvey) essentially no one evacuated.

  9. re: it would not have made sense to declare a state of emergency “in the middle of the event.”

    On the contrary, that’s exactly when it makes sense to declare a state of emergency. That’s when it’s an emergency! Before, it’s speculation and afterward, it’s no longer an emergency.

  10. All that salt turning cars into shitbuckets. Oh, but, you already said New Jersey.

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