MARATHON COUNTY (WAOW)- With every snow fall we rely on cities and counties to clear our roads but with salt prices on the rise it’s having an impact on highway departments in central Wisconsin.
Clear, salted roads are pivotal for drivers to stay safe each winter in Wisconsin and highway departments are always gearing up for incoming storms.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation the average salt price per ton last year was $68 but this year’s prices rose 15%.
“The cost of salt is high but the cost of lives and personal property is much higher so we are always trying to meet that balance,” said Russ Greveen of the Marathon Co. Highway Department.
The higher salt prices forced the highway department to make some changes.
“The brine maker we have here we have actually produced 100 thousand gallons of brine in Wausau alone,” said Greveen. “We are spraying the roads with brine solution that is 77% of water and 23% salt.”
Greveen said using brine rather than salt not only works better but is cost efficient.
“It removes ice and buys us a bit of time prior to the storm before the ice comes,” he said.
Whether it’s rock salt or brine Greveen said his department still gets out to prepare the roads before storms come through.
According to Russ salt purchasing starts in April and prices are determined on five year averages.