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As road salt prices climb, county transportation department look to water-salt mix to conserve saltSubmitted: 11/28/2018
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

As road salt prices climb, county transportation department look to water-salt mix to conserve salt
RHINELANDER - The Wisconsin DOT and county highway departments spend almost $100 million on road salt every winter.

When the cost of salt goes up, they feel it.

Road salt costs rose 8.7 percent this year.

That's pushed the DOT to help counties find ways to conserve salt. The DOT is training highway departments to properly mix and spread salt and water, which can cut salt usage by half.

"It targets where that salt stays. It stays in the travel lane where the cars are and where we want to remove the snow and the hard pack from the roads," Wisconsin DOT engineer Nick Vos said. "[With] rock salt, there's a loss factor from traffic. It just naturally blows off the road."


The DOT is hoping for a mild winter. More snow and ice means higher road maintenance costs.

"The more money we spend on winter between January and March is less work we can do in the summertime and the fall, because that money has been eaten up," Vos said.

Vilas Co. comes in with the highest costs in the state, paying more than $90 per ton.

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