Highway Department skipping the salt

By Erica Quednau | equednau@wcia.com

Published 01/02 2014 04:13PM

Updated 01/02 2014 04:21PM

CHAMPAIGN -- The cold temperatures are changing the way the Champaign County Highway Department keeps the roads clear.  Because it is so cold, they are skipping the salt. 

"That poses a great deal of difficulty for us.  The salt doesn't work as well when it gets down to about 15 degrees.  Basically the salt and the salt brine just quits working.  So then we switch to calcium chloride which calcium chloride will work below zero," said supervisor Tracy Wingler. 

He says the temperatures are also helping prevent slick spots.  It is so cold, nothing is melting which means the pavement isn't glazing over with ice.  That leaves snow as the biggest problem.  That is why the department is depending more on plows.  Eight trucks were sent out around 7:00 am and they'll work until 7:00 pm.  Another group will be sent out then.  

It is not the winter they were expecting considering the last couple we've had. 

Wingler says the rural roads running East and West seem to be the worst.  That could change as the winds change.  

Since we are expecting cold temperatures into the weekend, he says they probably won't put salt down until sometime next week. 

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