Since the 1940s, U.S. road maintenance departments have been spreading salt on streets and highways to melt snow and ice. It’s not a new phenomenon, but the rate of use has gone up astronomically from about 0.15 metric tons (0.16 tons) per year during the 1940s to about 18 million metric tons (19.8 million tons) per year today.Despite the damage it causes to roadways, concrete, waterways, and sidewalks, we continue to count on it each winter. Though salt is necessary for public health, often credited with lowering crash and accident injuries during icy winter months, it also heavily contributes to the need for road maintenance come spring and summer.
When salt is used on roads, it lowers the temperature that water will freeze (from 32 degrees to 15 degrees Fahrenheit). This creates an artificial freeze-thaw cycle encouraging more damage to occur faster. Sodium chloride (NaCl) and other deicing mechanisms like calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, potassium acetate and calcium magnesium acetate all contribute to the erosion of our roadways.
You might not know this, but there is a way to reduce the amount of salt you need this winter. And it’s easy – just use better, high-quality blades.
While you’re not likely able to get rid of salt use all together, better plow blades can help lower salt consumption and keep roads in better shape longer. When you are running the correct snowplow blade for your application, you’re achieving maximum performance. An incorrect blade can result in poor snow and ice removal and make you lean heavily on your chemical strategy.
Makes sense, right? Taking more snow and ice off the road the first time with a better blade ensures you don’t have to go back through the streets and dump metric tons of chemicals on the road.
The right blade can also create the appropriate surface for the salt and chemicals to react. This makes your chemical strategy twice as efficient, using fewer chemicals and making sure the ones you do use work well.
What are you waiting for? Looks like it’s time to ditch low-bid blades for good.
Click below to learn more about the different ways low-bid blades can negatively affect your snow and ice removal operation.