DOT has spent $54,431.00 on salt for Craven and Pamlico County since the snow started Tuesday, according DOT Maintenance Engineer Gordy Eure. The DOT serving Craven and Pamlico County has used 650 tons of salt.
"Salt is huge. It’s the most cost effective anti-deicing agent that we could use with the least amount of corrosion," Eure said.
Salt can be used wherever there is snow and ice. However, it's a common misconception that salt melts ice -it doesn't. Salt actually just mixes with water to lower the freezing point from 32 degrees to around 18 degrees.
The salt for Craven County comes from Wilmington and the salt for Pamlico County comes from the Chesapeake Bay.
"Between those two ports they'll ship it by rail, boat, truck all up and down the east coast," Eure said.
Salt is also used to make brine. Brine is essential for clearing and pre-treating roadways. Brine is a mixture of salt and water, but it has to be about 23% salt. If it is anything less than 21% it has a chance of refreezing roads.
“If its 21 or 18 percent then we are not getting as much salt and it's going to be more water, the more water we put on the road with the cold temperature, the more chance it will freeze,” Eure said.
The New Bern DOT location can hold up to 1,200,000 tons of salt. The only difference between using table salt and the rock salt DOT uses is that the table salt is ionized. Also throwing down table salt will work at the same speed and effectiveness as the rock salt DOT uses.
Eure said rock salt costs $83.74 dollars a ton. So, this week DOT has spent $54,431.00 on salt. However, all this money is 100% covered by the gas tax.
Eure said next month DOT will be meeting with officials to look at alternatives to salt that could possibly be less corrosive and more productive.