Sentinel-Echo.com

January 27, 2014

Transportation garages use new salt product for low temps

By Rob McDaniel
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Despite this winter being an unusually cold and snowy season for eastern Kentucky, Public Information Officer Les Dixon from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says District 11 is still prepared for any winter weather event that could potentially hit the area.

According to Dixon, in addition to several tons of rock salt, District 11 garages have received nearly 400 tons of a new product to help battle the dangerous road conditions associated with inclement weather.

Clear Lane, which is green in color, is a new road treatment system to Laurel County.  According to Dixon, Clear Lane has a faster reaction time than normal road salt and is effective in low temperatures, a major benefit considering the record breaking cold seen this year.

“This is the harshest winter we’ve had in probably the last 20 years,” Dixon said.  “We’ve had a lot of snow accumulation.  Luckily we’ve not had much ice, but we’ve had to deal with some of the coldest temperatures that our district has seen in a long time.”

Cold temperatures can make bad road conditions that much worse, but Dixon said crews have a few ways to make sure roads in the district are safe.

Below certain temperatures, plain road salt becomes less effective so crews add liquid calcium chloride (CaCl) to the salt. The resulting mixture keeps snow from sticking on roadways at even colder temperatures.

Brine, or saltwater, is applied while roadways are dry. Brine sticks to the road surface, ready to work when precipitation begins. Crews begin treatment in advance of a storm because anti-icing prevents the bonding of snow and ice to pavement.

Clear Lane, is a pre-wet sodium chloride (NaCl) made from a patented magnesium chloride (MgCl) formula and mixing process. It has a faster reaction time and requires separate storage. It’s ideal for trouble spots, bridges and ramps.

“Our district 11 road crews have done a fantastic job,” Dixon said.  “We have been thrown one of the most difficult winters in as long as I can remember and they’ve worked hard to keep the roads safe.”

Dixon asked motorists to remember to give a wide berth to plows, salt trucks and other snow-clearing heavy equipment. To be effective in dispersing de-icing material, trucks tend to travel at a slower speed. Snowplows may also create a snow cloud, which can cause a white out or zero visibility condition.

 

rmcdaniel@sentinel-echo.com