REGIONAL – Motorists traveling during snowy conditions will no longer see brown snow on the roads.
The Connecticut Department of Transportation, DOT, is launching a new “Chemical Priority” snow and ice removal program which will reduce the state’s use of sand and increase pre-treatment for roads, according to Commissioner Ralph J. Carpenter, of the DOT.
To treat snow and icy conditions, the DOT will be using sodium chloride, in solid and liquid form, and liquid calcium chloride.
Rock salt will be treated with liquid calcium chloride or salt brine as it is dispensed from plow trucks onto the roadway.
The liquid gives the rock salt an adhesive quality to prevent it from bouncing off the pavement.
It also activates the salt causing snow to melt into salt brine leading to melting of even more snow.
Pre-wetting salt with calcium chloride allows it to work faster at temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit leading to improved conditions faster than using salt alone.
Salt brine will be sprayed on bridges and selected roadways up to five days before an anticipated snow or ice event
with a specially equipped tank truck leaving a salt residue on the pavement.
When precipitation begins, the residue will be activated providing melting power immediately delaying freezing action.
The decision to reduce the state’s use of sand comes after studies have shown sand may impede the effectiveness of salt.
Sand has been known to create an environmental impact to surface water, is unable to melt snow, and requires the department to collect it and dispose of it.
Kevin Nursick, a spokesman for the DOT, said sand will still be used on icy patches on roads before calcium chloride is applied.
In extremely cold conditions, 15 degrees Fahrenheit or less, and when snow is not sticking to the road and instead is dry and fluffy, sand would be used to help plow the snow off the road, Nursick said.
While the new “Chemical Priority” program is new to Connecticut, snow states including New York and Pennsylvania have been successful in implementing these techniques for the past ten years.
Other Northeastern states have recently updated their snow and ice programs.
While these snow and ice control measures are expected to improve road conditions, the DOT reminds motorists that road conditions are affected by many interactive conditions including pavement temperature, air temperature, storm intensity, timing of initial treatment, traffic volume, wind velocity, and solar energy.
As a result, the DOT advises motorists slow down during inclement weather, allow more distance between you and other cars, and to be especially cautious on bridges which often freeze before other roadways.
The DOT recommends that you ensure your vehicle is ready for winter driving by having an emergency winter driving kit to include a flashlight with extra batteries, ice scraper, snow brush, a first aid kit with a pocket knife, blankets, mittens, socks, a wool cap, a small sack of sand, a small shovel, bottled water, and booster cables.
More information about winter driving tips can be obtained by visiting www.ct.gov/dot.