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The Importance of Road Salt in the Winter

Road salt being applied to the streets in the winter.

There’s no doubt about it, winter weather can create dangerous road conditions for drivers. Luckily, road conditions can be improved with the use of road salt. In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at how road salt works and helps to improve the safety of roads in the winter, along with the availability in Ontario.

The Benefits of Road Salt

Road salt is used to clear icy roads. By applying a layer of salt to roadways, the freezing temperature is raised, and ice is melted. This cost-effective and standard practice is used throughout Canada and North America to reduce and prevent weather-related vehicle collisions in the wintertime.

Road salt can be distributed manually with a shovel or by shaking a bag of salt on sidewalks, driveways and walkways, or commercially with a salt distribution truck, on all roadways.

Improving Road Salt

It has been shown that road salt, for all the good that it can do to improve the safety of our roadways and sidewalks in the winter, comes with some negative effects. These negatives include an impact on the environment, damage to traffic infrastructures and damage to vehicles.

With the right kind of road salt, these negative effects can be reduced if not eliminated. ECOSALT road salt available at Legends Landscape Supply in Burlington is treated with Geomelt 55. This salt treatment product is a concentrated beet juice that is regularly used to treat bulk salt piles. Geomelt 55 helps to enhance the melting capabilities of traditional road salt, but with fewer negative effects on our roadways, vehicles and environment.

To learn more about bulk road salt from Legends Landscape Supply, get in touch with us today. We will deliver above 20 tonnes, or you can pick up an order of any size by tonne. Our 24-hour salt hotline is available for your inquiries, at 1-866-740-4578.

Road Salt in Ontario

Last winter, residents of Ontario experienced their first “salt shortage” in years. This shortage was caused by the strike at the Goderich mine, flooding at a Cleveland mine and a devastating ice storm in April 2018. As a result, the limited availability of salt drove the cost of salt up to over 50 to 80 percent, compared to the previous year. The larger stockpile salt suppliers are indicating that this winter will, unfortunately, be similar to last year, with regards to price and supply.

In Ontario, there is only one major salt mine, which is one of the largest salt mines in the world. It has been said that this mine is trying alternative methods of mining, such as electric equipment, to be environmentally friendly and to reduce labour. This could be one of the reasons to why the supply of salt in Southern Ontario is down again this year. Unfortunately, a majority of the salt that is produced from the mines is also largely consumed by the municipalities. Independent contractors who used to buy direct are still unable to get salt from the mines this year. The cost of salt is being driven up again by the need for more international salt.

In a “salt shortage” year, the consumer often believes that more supply will be there even if the contractor runs out. This can happen late into a shortage year, but only when other cities have a supply left to sell. The price of this salt is high because it will be the second time it needs to be transported, likely from Montreal, New York, and other northern states. After this salt is exhausted, the contractor often uses a sand/salt mix. This mixture is used to avoid slip and falls, and to protect the contractor’s liability on their customer's sites. Sand is not always a popular alternative, but it can become a necessity during salt shortages to maintain public safety.

For more information, speak with our team of experts at Legends Landscape Supply today.

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