Friday, January 9, 2015

Highway Services Uses Road Salt Judiciously to Reduce Environmental Impacts

Snowy and icy roads can wreak havoc with the ability to safely get around – whether as pedestrians, bicyclists or motorists. That’s why Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) uses salt, or sodium chloride, to melt snow and ice on roads.

Salt is a highly effective treatment that is essential to ensuring safety and reducing collisions. However, MCDOT is very aware that too much salt can be bad for the environment. That’s why the Division of Highway Services (DHS) makes every effort to do the following:

  • Only uses salt when and where it is needed;
  • Uses as little salt as possible to get the job done;
  • Dilutes salt with water for pretreatment of roads and other uses, reducing salt concentrations; and
  • Never uses salt that is mixed with other chemicals – only pure sodium chloride.

DHS will respond to reports of icy roads that may require salting. Call 311 or report the road online.  If there is a true emergency and the 311 Call Center is not open, contact 911.

State roads in the County are those that are numbered, such as Routes 355 or 117. Numbered roads are maintained by the Maryland State Highway Administration. Contact them online or, in an emergency situation, call the Statewide Operations Center toll free at 1-800-543-2515 or 410-582-5650.