Friday, January 27, 2012

Keeping roads clear - its still NACL

In this part of the country the roads need to be plowed in winter, but that is only half the job. Fluctuating temperatures create multiple freeze/thaw cycles, often several in one day. We can see rain falling on frozen roads, or freezing rain falling on wet roads, causing black ice (i.e. invisible) or just plain sheet ice. In any form, ice is dangerous on roads, and the solution has been to spread the salt! Our temperatures only rarely go below the freezing point of salt water, so salt is a good solution, even if accelerates rust.
Sometimes salt is mixed with grit or sand, and this year some genius has decided to pre-salt the Halifax streets with brine. It is applied wet, dries and then is reactivated by snow. Yesterday one lone Ford F-350 was patrolling all over the downtown all day. For some reason there were two men in the truck - not sure what the second guy did unless it was the keep the other guy awake. The spreading system was totally unregulated and gravity fed. This meant lots of brine at stop lights (where it is needed most anyway) but it is a pretty unsophisticated system.
And I guess it would sure save money on equipment compared to the normal (dry) salt spreading equipment.
1. Downtown yesterday this DIY brine spreading arrangement was patrolling the bi-ways. He is heading northbound on Barrington Street, but his southbound pass, applied a half hour before hadn't dried yet.

By comparison- here are a few trucks rigged for salt spreading in 1992:2. In 1992 this aging White Western Star was ruuning for a private contractor in Dartmouth, NS. Note the exhaust stack repositioned to the driver's side to clear the wing plow elevator (it appears to be winch controlled.) The spreader body looks a bit newer.3. In the summer of 1992 this 1950s Autocar had just come out of the paint shop in St-Fidélè, QC ready for another year. The cage over the spreader body would break up frozen chunks of salt from the loader.

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