For the first time, MassDOT will blend its own anti-icing liquid for use on roadways in Highway District 5 during the snow and ice season, saving money and improving environmental conditions.
“MassDOT works diligently to find cost-effective and environmentally friendly ways to our improve operations,” said Secretary Davey. “This plant allows us to trim costs and treat our roads in a smarter, innovative way.”
MassDOT will make, store, and apply its own anti-icer for approximately $.07/gallon. Currently, MassDOT purchases large amounts of magnesium chloride at $.89/gallon. The mix produced at the plant will be 85% salt brine and 15% magnesium chloride. MassDOT purchased brine last winter for treatment on certain bridges and frost prone areas in Highway District 1 at a cost of $.55/gallon.
“With salt brine we are able to pre-treat our roads up to 48-hours in advance of a storm. We can be more proactive and reduce overtime costs by closely monitoring the forecast,” said Administrator DePaola. “Magnesium chloride has a much shorter window; it must be applied 2-3 hours prior to the snow and ice event.”
The location was chosen because salt brine works best in the average winter temperatures found in this region. Construction of the plant, including equipment and infrastructure, cost approximately $250,000. Based on weather conditions, MassDOT anticipates the plant paying for itself in 2-3 years.
More on the benefits of reducing salt and sand use are available after the break.
Environmental Benefits of Salt Brine
Benefits of Reducing Salt Use
Less impact to soils and vegetation;
Reduces impact to rivers, streams, wetlands and water supplies;
Reduces deterioration of concrete and steel structures;
Reduction in vehicle corrosion.
Benefits of Reducing Sand Use
Traction benefits of sand are limited and temporary;
Sand accumulates on roadside edges, catch basins, and drainage pipes which can lead to flow restrictions and blockages in the storm-water drainage systems. The collection and disposal of sand adds considerable cost to the operation;
Sand contributes to the sedimentation in streams, impacting fish species and aquatic ecosystems;
Suspended in water sand increases turbidity and can result in the death of fish and invertebrates, and reduces photosynthesis in aquatic plants;
Siltation and sediment deposits have been cited as one of the leading causes of water quality impairments in various regions around the country.