Doctors tell you to go easy on the salt when it comes to cooking and staying healthy, but the winter road recipe used by the Iowa Department of Transportation includes liberal amounts of sodium chloride. One of DOT winter operations administrator Dennis Burkheimer’s recipes for road care is a salt-brine.
Burkheimer says they mix about two pounds of salt with one gallon of water for the ideal solution to put on roadways. He says they pre-treat roads prior to storms and also put the brine on bridges to help prevent frost from forming. Some of the salt brine is put down on roadways as a complement to regular salt. Burkheimer says the salt brine helps the salt stick to the roadways when it’s applied, so the salt doesn’t just bounce away.
The DOT has some 190,000 tons of salt stored for use in fighting the winter weather. Burkheimer says the use of the salt isn’t haphazard, as there’s a lot of technology to help tell what’s needed. Burkheimer says they have a customized forecast that provides weather information, and there’s 58 roadway weather information systems throughout the state that provide real-time information on pavement and subsurface temperatures. He says that information is critical in deciding how to treat the roadways.
You can see much of the roadway information by going to the DOT’s website .