OK, Madison had its first significant snowfall of the season (5 plus inches) earlier this week and we’re all thankful to the snow plow drivers for keeping us mobile, but when it comes to the amount of salt spread in the name of safe driving, it’s time to say enough is enough. I live on a city bus route so there is an understandable emphasis on keeping the road surface ice free, but isn’t six or more passes of the salt truck in 24 hours just overkill?
If you share this point of view, then check out a great local blog: cutsalt blogspot. David Thompson promotes a common-sense discussion of road salt use, offers alternatives to excess road salt use (including winter speed limits, and the use of snow tires), and tackles common myths about road salt use, including the one that its use improves road safety.
Next time you drive by the Arboretum on the Beltline and wonder why all the pine trees are dying, look no further than the road salt spread on the highway and the salt spray created by your high speed traffic.
Another reason to be concerned is that most of the salt spread in the Lake Wingra watershed ends up in Lake Wingra. Check out Cutsalt’s description of this impact.