The City of Roanoke’s Public Works Department has received the Salt Institute’s 2017 Safe and Sustainable Snowfighting Award. The department is among the 85 transportation facilities across the United States and Canada being recognized for environmental consciousness and effective management in the storage of winter road salt. Roanoke has won this award every year since 2012.
“We appreciate the efforts of all of our employees who are involved in the management and application of road salt,” says Mark Jamison, Transportation Manager for the City of Roanoke. “Their efforts have a direct influence on ensuring that our schools, businesses, and residents are able to return to normal activities as soon as is practical after a snow event.”
About 17 million tons of deicing salt is applied to roadways in the United States each year and another six million tons are spread in Canada. Having enough road salt on hand before storms hit requires advance planning and facilities that provide safe and efficient storage.
“The familiar sight of trucks spreading salt on icy winter roads gives motorists reassurance, as it should,” said Salt Institute President Lori Roman. “If that salt was stored in and spread by a facility honored with a Safe and Sustainable Snowfighting award, motorists have the added assurance of knowing the utmost care has been taken to protect public safety and the environment.”
Clear winter roads protect lives and commerce. Every winter, more than 116,000 Americans are injured and over 1,300 killed as a result of pavement that is snow, slush or ice covered, according to the federal government. But a study of highways in Snow Belt states showed that road salt reduces crashes by up to 88 percent.
When the direct and indirect impact of road shutdowns on the broader economy is factored in, road salt becomes even more valuable. A one-day major snowstorm can cost a state $300-$700 million in direct and indirect costs, lost commerce and productivity. In fact, deicing pays for itself within the first 25 minutes after the salt is spread—making proper salt storage and timely deicing a smart investment.