Now that snow season is back, I’d like to reprise this story about best practices for winter road maintenance. A group of towns in the Lake George, New York, area has already implemented these best practices. They are greatly reducing their winter maintenance budgets as a result—and they’re improving water quality in the lake.
There are three steps to achieving safe, black pavement in the winter, while protecting water quality. These steps greatly reduce salt use. They are:
1. Spray brine (salt dissolved in water) on roads before the storm hits. It prevents snow and ice from sticking, so it’s easy to plow off. No rock salt needed.
2. Use GPS technology to monitor how much rock salt is spread per lane-mile. If you can’t measure it, it’s hard to manage. Paired with road condition sensors, this helps crews deploy salt only where it’s really needed.
3. Invest in plows with flexible blades. They hug the curves of the road for more efficient snow removal.
For more details, and why this matters, please read this article. https://undark.org/2021/03/11/road-salt-imperils-aquatic-ecosystems/