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Ask Us: How does DOT choose roads to salt in winter?

Question: Why do they rarely salt secondary roads, leaving us to wait for it to thaw?

Mark Kauffman Jr.

Answer: The roads selected for treatment often come down to limits on the amount of available space for salt and other material used to de-ice the roads, according to N.C. Department of Transportation officials.

Rowan County maintenance engineer Kevin Neal said roads at the top of the DOT’s priority list are called bare pavement routes. As the name suggests, bare pavement routes mean that DOT employees clear all ice and snow from roads until all that’s left is bare pavement.

The bare pavement routes in Rowan County include: Interstate 85, U.S. routes, North Carolina routes, Old Concord Road, parts of Bringle Ferry Road, parts of Stokes Ferry Road, Stateville Boulevard inside of Jake Alexander Boulevard, Innes Street and Long Ferry Road. Jake Alexander Boulevard south of Interstate 85 is considered a secondary road and, therefore, isn’t as high on the list for salt.

In total, Neal said Rowan county has nearly 9,000 lane miles of bare pavement roads, which require “de-icing agents to clear snow and ice.”

When asked why more roads aren’t included in the bare pavement routes, Neal said it’s a matter of capacity.

“It takes a ton of salt for eight lane miles of roadway,” he said. “And, sometimes it takes multiple applications. Nobody has that salt quantity.”

Salt, though it’s a naturally occurring element, can also kill grass on the roadside, Neal said.

Other roads may be plowed, but DOT workers don’t use de-icing agents, such as salt, Neal said.

Question: What was the purpose for the bridge built over Highway 29 near the Liberty Commons Nursing Center?

Michael Taylor

Answer: Rowan County Department of Transportation Engineer Richard Ho said the bridge, when completed, would connect Peeler Road to Cedar Springs Road.

Once completed, a car could travel from Mooresville Road to Airport Road and onto Cedar Springs Road, eventually reaching Peeler Road’s interchange with I-85.

Ho said it would create a loop around South Main Street. The bridge is currently on track to open in mid-June.

The recent weather affected construction crews’ ability to work, he said.

Got a question for the Salisbury Post? Email it to askus@salisburypost.com

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