Salt for the roads in Touraine has quite a journey. It comes from Spain by sea, then is trucked into the Touraine.
The authorities are assuring us that there will be no shortage, even if this winter is Siberian. Every year a contract for this indispensible commodity is signed with a supplier and the roads are salted to ensure safe travel in the snow and ice. The responsibility for overseeing the contract is shortly to change. At the moment it comes under the auspices of the Parc routier départemental de l'équipement (PRDE), but from January 1, due to decentralisation, the conseil général will take over.
The supplier is required to supply the necessary quantities in a timely manner, even when the official weather forecast doesn't predict the bad weather. The salt is extracted from a mine in Spain. It takes 12 hours to get it by truck to the Touraine, but this is a very expensive way of transporting it, so it is put on a boat as far as Rouen or Rochefort, where it is stockpiled. As the need arises it is trucked to 19 depots in Indre-et-Loire and from there the big salter vehicles are loaded. If there is an emergency, or any risk of a break in the supply line, the supplier is obliged to truck the salt directly from Spain. Transport accounts for roughly half the annual bill.
Source: La Nouvelle République 10 dec 2010.