MDOT says it’s getting close to it’s annual budget this year for region 5. They’ve used more salt this winter so far than they did last year.
Maine Department of Transportation region 5 covers Aroostook, Penobscot, and Washington counties. The annual budget for salt and winter maintenance to cover this whole region of Maine is just over 3 million dollars.
Mark Ireland, Superintendent of Operations for MDOT Region 5 says, “this winter we’ve used 17 thousand 700 ton of salt.”
That’s up till now. Last winter, Ireland says they used 17 thousand 500 ton of salt the whole year. He says they have gone over the budget before.
Ireland, “right now we’re running a little heavy, we’re very close to what our budget is for the season for this quarter but right now depending on how many more storms we have obviously we should be pretty good.”
Right now there’s about 1,500 to 2,000 ton of salt in storage.
Ireland, “we also have a reserve set up that’s 15 hundred tons that we leave for emergencies like if we can’t get any deliveries and everybody is running than that’s something we can tap into.”
VO: This has been a snowier winter but Ireland says staffing and overtime has not been an issue. Neither has been recent concerns from Environmental advocates over salt and sand on roadways.
SOT: (Mark Ireland)
“we do two things, we do anti icing which is what we would go out and treat the entire road prior to a storm coming in and then we also do a pre wetting which is we apply magnesium chloride and salt brine mixture to the salt as we lay it out on the road.”
The brine solution activates the salt quicker and doesn’t allow the snow to bound to the pavement, giving the plows a leeway to get started on the roads.