North Idaho drivers seeing blue as ITD crews use new road salt

As winter weather continues in the region, drivers in north Idaho are now seeing blue as ITD maintenance crews begin using a new blue salt product. The new salt may represent the next stage in the department's efforts to improve road clearing and resulting public safety.

According to the manufacturer, the blue salt is less corrosive than traditional salt, and 40 percent less of the new blue salt is needed to achieve the same results that traditional salt can provide, so it is potentially a cost savings as well.

"We are just experimenting with it at this stage, but it has the potential to save money, some wear-and-tear on vehicles, and most importantly, be more effective on the roads," said ITD's north Idaho management assistant, Mike Lenz.

The new blue salt will be used on 1,500 miles of area roads across the region.

Lenz said the blue salt has so far proven effective. In side-by-side tests with regular white road salt, the blue salt "Ice Kicker" performed much better.

The picture at right tells the tale: lanes closest to the centerline were treated with blue salt while the two outside lanes were treated with traditional salt at the same application rate (150 lb. per lane mile). The photo was taken two hours after application.

Published 03-03-17