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All you ever wanted to know about road salt but were afraid to ask

  • In an average year, Wayne County uses about 67,000 tons of salt to fight 35-40 snowfalls.
  • One ton of salt costs the County about $40.00, averaged out over three different salt suppliers.
  • Since 2000, Wayne County has saved thousands in salt costs by purchasing its salt through the State of Michigan Budget Department's extended purchasing program. By buying in bulk for multiple agencies, the State can get a better price than the County could on its own.
  • Because of the overwhelming demand for salt in some winter seasons, some salt companies are unable to commit to providing salt, or quote a price for it, for some road agencies. Wayne County has 80,000 tons of salt in stock.
  • Wayne County has 12 yard locations throughout the county, from which its snow fighting efforts are based. The County also has a Central Maintenance Yard near Metro Airport, where trucks and equipment are repaired.
  • Wayne County spends approximately $3.5 million per year on salt.
  • Standards call for 500-800 pounds of salt to be applied to each two-lane mile of pavement.
  • A single salt run for a truck can use up to 12 tons of salt, depending upon truck size.
  • At temperatures below 20 degrees, salt begins to lose its effectiveness. At 0 degrees, it does virtually nothing.
  • Twenty percent of the fleet has the capabilities to pre-wet the pavement with brine which increases the effectiveness of salt.
  • During the winter, salt trucks are kept loaded with salt and ready to go 24 hours a day, seven days a week in anticipation of snowfalls.
  • Wayne County does not use sand on paved roads because it does not melt ice and clogs storm drains. Calcium chloride-treated sand is used on gravel roads where there are typically no storm sewers and where salt is less effective. For exceptionally hard packed snow, calcium chloride treated salt can help break it down.