Knox Co. to start using salt brine mixture to fight icy roads

7:09 PM, Jan 30, 2012   |    comments
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Knox County has a new way to treat wintery roads

The Knox County's Engineering and Public Works Department has seven new salt brine tanks to be used together with regular granulated salt on major roadways and trouble spots this winter.

Salt brine is a liquid mixture of salt and water that is applied
to roadways to stop snow from sticking to pavements.

The new brine system includes three 1,600 gallon tanks
mounted on tandem-axle dump trucks and four 1,000 gallon tanks to be used with single-axle dump trucks. 

"This new system saves money on salt and helps make roads safer for county residents," said Mayor Tim Burchett. "It just makes sense."

"By pre-treating roads with brine you create a layer of salt that prevents snow from sticking, rather than trying to melt it away with granulated salt," said EPW Director Dwight Van de Vate. "The most important aspect of brine is safety."

Along with the added safety benefits of brine application, it is also a more cost-effective way to treat wintery roadways. Last year, Knox County spent $361,000 on granulated salt. When roads are pre-treated with brine it lowers the need for regular salt and makes subsequent applications more effective.

In addition to cutting down on salt consumption, brine application has environmental advantages, too. Less salt
on the side of the road means a smaller amount of it will go down our storm drains and into adjacent waterways.

Knox County crews immediately begin winter weather preparations as soon as snow is forecast. Prior to and
during any precipitation the on-call supervisors monitor road conditions in the county and communicate with authorities to determine necessary precautions.

Workers will start clearing main thoroughfares and known problem areas first, and then move on to complaints
and secondary roads.

Depending on the severity of the weather, Knox County has a fleet of dump trucks equipped with snow plows,
salt spreaders and brine tanks ready for dispatch. Additionally, the county has a dozen four-wheel-drive trucks
equipped with smaller snow plows for use on more narrow roads.

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