The North Dakota Department of Transportation is using only salt and no sand in its applied mixture to icy roads and highways in hopes of cutting costs.

The same amounts of salt will be used on state highways as they did when sand was used. By not hauling sand in the beds of snowplow trucks, ND DOT's maintenance division in Bismarck has said the trucks can now travel further while saving fuel and time. The ice will still melt just as quickly as it had previously with the salt and sand mixture.

In previous years, ND DOT has used a mixture consisting of 500 pounds of sand and 100 pounds of salt while using 350 snow plows each winter to fight the snowfalls throughout the state. The agency has been transitioning with the experiment in past years amongst the state's eight road districts before using salt-only in all road districts.

The salt-only treatment is applicable when the temperatures are just below freezing. When temperatures drop to 15 degrees and below, a mixture of saltwater and beet juice is applied to roads and highways. This can be effective until temperature drop to about -18. Beyond that, regardless of the mixture, not much is effective, but sand will be sprinkled on the roads to add traction.


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