Brunswick tests blue salt ahead of winter storm

BRUNSWICK, OH (WOIO) - There are many ways to tackle winter snow. The Ohio Department of Transportation was out with brine Monday pre-treating Interstate 71 and other highways.

In Brunswick, plows are in working order and loaded, but something is different -- two trucks were carrying blue salt, or salt treated with a liquid de-icer.

"The liquid is a calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, some sticking agents, which sounds really weird, but you want the material to stick to the roadway as best you can, so it's almost a syrupy type of consistency," said service director Paul Barnett.

But how will they know if it is better than untreated salt? That is where the science comes in. Two locations are equipped with cameras and sensors.

"We'll be using the enhanced salt at this location. The other location we're going to be strictly using the standard rock salt," said Barnett.

At both locations the cameras will snap a picture every 10 minutes. One sensor will monitor pavement and air temperature. Another senses if it is wet or dry pavement, the most important factor.  Barnett says much information will be gained

"If it is wet, is it black ice, is it slush, is it snow packed? Give us an idea of that, and most important, what the skid resistance is," Barnett said.

And that is the most important factor. The chemical has been used to treat salt in the west, and because the company that makes it is trying to come east, the sensing equipment, as well as the chemical, are free during the test (no cost to taxpayers).

It would normally add about $10 per ton to what is now $32 for a ton salt. In theory, the city should be able to use less, making up for the added cost.

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