Is Road Salt The Reason We Need To Fix The Damn Michigan Roads?
The winter months in Michigan bring out the plows and the salt trucks, but is the road salt a reason why we need to fix our damn roads all the time?
It turns out the road salt doesn't do anything to our Michigan roads but it is not good for our environment. If you think about it, when this salt melts it has to go somewhere and that is usually plants, ditches, and our lakes and streams.
What really causes the most problems for Michigan roads is the constant freezing and thawing during the colder months of the year. The real kicker is when the snow and ice are melting. This allows moisture to get inside the pavement, then it freezes, then expands, and then thaws. This puts a gap in the pavement and when the vehicles get a hold of the gap it eventually gets weaker than the pothole is the end result.
Just the other day it rained and was in the 40s. Over the next couple of days, some areas got 8 to 10 inches of snow and at night the temperature was down below-freezing temperatures. This will guarantee some new potholes this spring.
Another factor is the transition from winter to spring. The snow has melted but the ground is frozen allowing that water to keep the pavement moist, then the spring rains hit and continue with the moisture, and this with vehicles driving over the roads constantly eventually breaks down the asphalt creating our famous Michigan potholes.
Some of the smaller towns will use some sort of sand or dirt to put down on the roads instead of salt. It would take a lot of dirt or sand to handle U.S. 131 plus this would sandblast behind-the-wheel wells of vehicles driving at high speeds.
Another reason some of the smaller towns use sand/dirt vs salt is, animals like salt and with grains of salt next to roads, animals like deer get it because they can use the mineral. The problem this causes is making our roads into little bait piles and leads to extra automobile and deer accidents.
According to FOX 17, Michigan State University is working on a pilot program and trying out a liquid de-icer that could lead to reducing salt on the roads and be better for Michigan's environment.
You can do your part by not using salt on your walk and driveway and hopefully soon the state of Michigan will have a better way to de-ice our roads without damaging our environment.