road salt truck

Road Salt Production

Slick Roads?  Don’t Get Salty!

Spring in the Midwest brings a lot of challenges our way, and few more dangerous than icy roads and sidewalks.  Cue the music, and bring in the salt trucks!

Road salt is the most commonly used substance to deice roads and help produce traction in icy conditions.  So where does it all come from? 

Sodium Chloride (basic table salt) is the main type of salt used on roads.  Mines in Ohio, Michigan, New York, Kansas, and Louisiana are responsible for 90% of the salt on roads in the US.  While salt is the most efficient substance to clear ice, it does have drawbacks.

As spring melts winter, the used salt goes into runoffs, streams, lakes, and rivers.  These deposits can cause major animal/plant disruption, and too much salt can cause death to habitats.  Salt also causes corrosion on vehicles when not washed off for periods of time.

Because of this, sand is often substituted or supplemented with salt.  It does not melt snow/ice, but rather provides traction/friction for tread.  Sand is also about 75% cheaper, and causes less damage to wildlife.

Regardless, pay attention to conditions as you drive, and look for those beautiful trucks tossing grains in front of you.

To see which of the states use the most salt/sand, please click the links below:

http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/sr/sr235/017-030.pdf

https://www.carcomplaints.com/resources/guides/salt-belt/

 

About the Author

Picture of Dave Rohlfing

Dave Rohlfing, Senior Technical Solutions Coordinator