Icy roads mean UDOT's going through a lot of salt

5 photos
Save Story

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SALT LAKE COUNTY -- Tuesday night's storm combined with Wednesday's cold temperatures to create a skating rink on our roads. UDOT tried its hardest to melt the snow with lots of salt.

A car slid off of Interstate 215 at 4800 South around noon. That led to more pileups, eventually involving 14 more cars. Nine people were injured. Ice is to blame.

UDOT engineer Lee Nitchman said, "We saw temperatures as low as minus 5 degrees for the pavement."

Nitchman says the roads Wednesday morning were frozen. They've barely heated up all day, especially since the high hit only 19 degrees.

Since it's so cold, UDOT is using Redmond red salt from Central Utah. It melts ice better than the white salt.

"It has naturally occurring minerals that, when they mine it, they're still in there, and it helps with these cold temperatures like we have now," Nitchman said.

The red salt is used for temperatures 20 degrees and below.

UDOT also used a brine solution to supplement the salt. Its bridge de-icing system incorporates potassium acetate to break ice.

As the sun came out in the afternoon, it certainly helped with the melting process, and the ice became slush.

"Solar radiation comes down and hits that darker red salt and then also the pavement that's exposed, and they just suck that heat up and break that ice," Nitchman explained.

UDOT says it's gone through a lot of salt the last two days and also a lot for the season.

"This time last year we hadn't used as much because we didn't have as many storms or as cold as temperatures. However there's, as we know, the Great Salt Lake is right here and it's providing a lot of salt," Nitchman said.

With even colder temperatures forecast for Thursday, UDOT will be using lots of that salt.

E-mail: ngonzales@ksl.com


Related links

Related stories

Most recent Utah stories

Related topics

Nicole Gonzales


    Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the KSL.com Trending 5.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast