Sunday, January 09, 2005

[PlanPutnam] Pojo: State sets best practice guidelines for road salt

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Date: 1/8/2005 12:27:12 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
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Subj: [PlanPutnam] Pojo: State sets best practice guidelines for road salt
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Saturday, January 8, 2005

State sets best practice guidelines

The New York state Department of Transportation has guidelines to reduce
salt use to make it more environmentally friendly and inexpensive.

The department is also working with new technology, such as in-pavement
weather sensors, various anti-icing cocktails and trucks with sophisticated
salt sprayers.

Among its best management practices:

- Salt must be applied before a snowfall to be most effective. Salt lowers
the temperature water will freeze and can create an ice-free zone on the
pavement. It takes seven to ten times as much salt to melt ice on a road as
it does to prevent ice from forming in the first place.

- The 50/50 mix of salt and sand traditionally used is ineffective because
the sand prevents the salt from creating an ice-free layer at the road
surface, and the salt prevents the sand from helping cars gain traction.
Studies show 5 percent salt can be adequate to prevent sand from freezing.

- High-concentration salt solutions provide no additional benefit to
low-concentration solutions. An ideal concentration is 23 percent.

- Salt is ineffective when temperatures get down to minus-10 and below, so
salt should not be used when it is very cold. Salt alternatives can be
used, or sand can be used to give traction.

The state can train local highway crews on request, but there is no
requirement for county and town highway crews to learn best management
practices. Dutchess County will study its use of salt on vulnerable
environmental areas this year.

''We strongly encourage communities to look into doing that,'' said Jeanne
Hewitt, head of the DOT's Environmental Analysis Bureau.

-- Dan Shapley

On the Web

Environmental Analysis Bureau:

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