Why different roads need different materials to fight the winter elements

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — City and county crews use different mixes of sand and salt to tackle the winter road conditions. The City of Sioux Falls Street Department applies the combinations to emergency and secondary streets first and then move on to residential.

These three domes hold the mixtures used by the city to combat the ice and snow on the streets.

“We use road salt mixed with calcium chloride and we have a rust additive so it’s not quite as corrosive. That’s what we use on our emergencies and secondaries. Usually in our residentials, we use sand salt mix which is about 10% salt with our sand,” City of Sioux Falls Street Maintenance Supervisor, Charlie Putzier, said.

The mixture for the residential is mainly used for traction, and the other blend is for melting the ice and snow.

The Minnehaha County Highway Department has three combinations they use. The department uses the same road salt with calcium chloride mixture the city does.

“We like to use the sodium chloride mixture just the way it interacts the ice itself. It is effective at melting the ice and breaking that bond between the pavement and the ice, but it’s not too bad for the environment. There are a couple other chemicals that are used nationwide or in the upper-Midwest and a little bit east. Calcium chloride is one of them, and it’s really bad on vehicles and it’s more difficult to use. It can refreeze a lot harder than the sodium chloride that we use. And then, magnesium chloride is another chemical that a lot of people will use,” Minnehaha County Highway Department Superintendent, DJ Buthe, said.

Both departments have the same advice to share that they do every year. Slow down and don’t crowd the plow.

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