Volume 73, Number 40 | February 04 - 10, 2004

D.O.T.: No viable option to salt

By Melanie Wallis

The issue of salt being used to clear the roads of ice and snow has been brought into the spotlight following the death by electrocution of an East Village resident on a slush-and-snow-covered Con Edison junction box on Jan. 16.

It is a known fact that salt can be corrosive to the insulation covering electrical wires in the metal manholes and service boxes. Keith Mellis, a Department of Sanitation spokesperson, said that non-corrosive ingredients are mixed with calcium chloride in making rock salt for use on roads and sidewalks.

When asked if D.O.T. would consider using a British strategy for dealing with icy roads — mixing the salt with grit — Mellis replied, “We are constantly looking for ways to improve our methods, but grit or sand does not melt the snow and there would also be a huge amount of residue left after the snow has melted.”


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