Dawson Road Maintenance snowplow. (Submitted photo)

Dawson Road Maintenance aiming to use less salt on South Cariboo roads

Salt usage has increased over a 10-year period

Dawson Road Maintenance is looking at ways to reduce the amount of salt being used on roadways in efforts of maintaining winter driving conditions.

Salt usage in the South Cariboo has increased over a 10-year period, according to David Rhodes, quality manager of Service Area 16. Roughly 25 per cent more salt is being used. Rhodes said crews have been working around the clock since late October.

“We are looking at using a calcium chloride product and pre-wetting the salt,” said Rhodes. “For example, if a plow is driving down the road at 30 km/h and a hand full of marbles is dropped on the road, they will bounce across the road. That is what happens with salt and why trucks drive slow – we want the salt to drop straight down and the back wheels grind the majority into the compact snow and ice.”

Calcium chloride will be sprayed onto the salt before it reaches the ground – misting a coat – causing the salt to react faster and stick to the roadways.

“We are hoping it will reduce a lot of the salt being used,” said Rhodes. “It’s about using the salt most effectively. If a truck is driving 35 or 40 km/h down on a road, 30 per cent of the salt is going to bounce into the ditch and not melt any compact on the road.”

The company is currently testing the calcium chloride on roads. As well, in the coming weeks, crews will be out fixing potholes in the area.

“We know that there are some serious issues with the potholes around town. We have been consistently trying a variety of products but nothing seems to be holding.”

Rather than patching the potholes, maintenance crews will be taking a “summer paving” approach.

“We will be grinding out sections of road around potholes and place a patch in,” said Rhodes. “This will give a clean bonding surface because it’s grounded out.”

The first priority will be starting with severe potholes and then the not-so-bad ones.


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