Marine Corps


Would You Like Salt with That??

Around these parts the Colorado DoT relies far too much on MgCl - Magnesium Chloride to keep the roads clear. When I was growing up here in the 70s and 80s the plows were out after the first flakes hit the ground, but they were ready with the plow and would put down SAND when needed. People knew how to drive then as well, and that certainly helped.

After active duty, I got back to a completely different Colorado in 2000. These days, if there's a hint of a freeze and snow, CDoT hits the roads but they spray liquid MgCl on the roads and are very slow to actually plow the roads. Sand is used, but only sparingly. MgCl is supposed to lower the freezing temp of the water on the road, so it doesn't ice up until about 25* or so. It doesn't work when there are several inches of snow on top though.

The number of non-driving folks out here is just frikkin' amazing - they rely on their oversized, incapable 4wd vehicles to get around and think that they can go anywhere. They don't have a clue that four-wheel drive may allow them to go, but has NO effect on stopping. I drive a highly-modified Jeep Cherokee and have no problems driving in snow and ice...I know my vehicle and its capabilities. There are plenty of folks who simply don't know how to drive...

Back to the MgCl though. It's salt. It's liquid salt, definitely a car-cancer-causing agent and the morons at CDoT spray it liberally instead of clearing the roads. As I understand it, MgCl has been known to cause a high number of roadside electrical fires when the salt spray coats transformers and shorts them out. Truckers have electrical problems on their long-haul rigs because of the spray, and yet the CDoT still sprays it. Can you say "graft?"

For those of you who don't know it, Colorado is in a drought situation and has been for years. Yet last year, CDoT put up highway signs recommending that drivers thoroughly wash their cars after EVERY snowstorm...that wouldn't be a problem with sand but that's their quiet way of acknowledging salt is a problem I suppose.

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Created: March 10, 2003 and updated whenever the Muse strikes me
Retired to Past Indices May 15, 2005

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