KYTC District uses three different types of salt compounds on roadways to help prevent snow and ice build-up during a storm. Each adds a different level of protection for the traveling public.
Road salt. Sodium chloride (NaCl), which is applied by truck-borne spreaders in coarse layers, is much like the common driveway salt. It reacts with water and wet snow, and lowers the freezing point of the resulting liquid. It sort of melts snow and keeps it from "sticking" on roadways, at least while temperatures are moderately cold.
Calcium chloride. Below certain temperatures, plain road salt becomes less effective so crews add liquid calcium chloride (CaCl) to the salt. The resulting mixture keeps snow from sticking on roadways at even colder temperatures.
Brine, or saltwater, is applied while roadways are dry. It's those parallel "lines" you see on pavement sometimes. Brine sticks to the road surface, ready to work when precipitation begins. Crews begin treatment in advance of a storm because anti-icing prevents the bonding of snow and ice to pavement.
Throughout the snow season, which runs from November to March, highway response teams across Kentucky serve weekly on-call rotations. The teams monitor weather reports when snow is in the forecast and determine when to activate the state’s arsenal of snow-fighting equipment, including more than 1,000 snow plows.
Motorists are reminded to give a wide berth to plows, salt trucks and other snow-clearing heavy equipment. To be effective in dispersing de-icing material, trucks tend to travel at a slower speed. Also, snow plows may create a snow cloud which can cause a white out or zero visibility condition, so keep a safe distance away from the trucks.