Oct. 30, 2012
For more information, contact Dave Thompson (503) 860-8021
Segments of two Oregon highways will run five-year pilot programs
ODOT plans to test whether solid salt can help keep roadway conditions more consistent—and therefore safer for travelers—on two segments of Oregon highways, in a five-year pilot project. The two pilot project areas are:
“Vehicles on these two road segments are already exposed to salt, because in each case neighboring states use salt to keep roads clear,” said Luci Moore, ODOT Statewide Maintenance Engineer. “We will test whether salt in limited situations on these segments can help meet drivers’ expectations of similar roadway surface conditions between the states. That consistency should reduce dangerous driving conditions caused by packed snow and reduce crashes and injuries.”
ODOT has used snowplows, sanding material and liquid rust-inhibited magnesium chloride deicer for many years now; these elements will remain the primary tools ODOT uses to reduce or delay the accumulation of snowpack on Oregon highways. Salt will be used in these two specific pilot project areas only when plows, sanding material and liquid deicer are no longer effective, and only in limited weather and roadway situations.
“We’re testing whether salt can be an effective tool in our winter toolbox,” said Moore. “We don’t plan to use it anywhere else. And we’ll use it in these two locations only when it’s appropriate to weather and roadway conditions.”
Salt is a very corrosive product. ODOT is taking steps to reduce environmental impacts of using salt, while balancing the need to provide safer roads for travelers who must travel during dangerous winter conditions. ODOT will continue to urge all travelers to wash your car more often during the winter to rinse off liquid deicer, as well as sand and salt.