Salt or Sand on Our Icy Roads

Again this morning all RCOC trucks are on the road (we’ve been out non-stop for close to 60 hours now), and will be throughout the day today salting and cleaning up. The low temperatures overnight last night and Sunday night made it very difficult, as the salt is essentially ineffective when the temperatures are in the single digits. We’ve also been struggling with a reduced workforce (due to declining road funding). However, we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to make a lot of progress today, as the temperature is supposed to be around 20 degrees. Unfortunately, single-digit temps are predicted for tonight again, so there will probably be additional icing tonight. During the day today, we’ll continue to focus mainly on the freeways and major roads, though we do have graders working on gravel roads as well. We appreciate the public’s patience as we work to clear the road system.

A lot of people have asked why we don’t use sand. The answer is we do use sand, but generally only on gravel roads. The problem with sand in urbanized areas, is that many of our roads have storm sewers, and the sand clogs the storm sewers. That can lead to flooding either when the snow and ice melts or later in the spring when we have the spring thaw. Additionally, sand can be dangerous on paved roads, because it remains on the roads after the snow and ice is gone, and can actually be slippery. The danger is that cars attempting to stop at a dry intersection where there is sand can actually slide on the sand.

About Tom and Ann Gendich

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