Writer addresses misconceptions about salting

To the Expositor:

In response and support to Mr. John Savage of Bay Estates in the Expositor Vol. 134, No. 37, Wednesday, January 29 edition ‘Writer suggests alternative salting method.’ First of all I have plowed, salted and sanded Yellow Head Hwy.16 in McBride, BC, in the Rockies, for 15 winters where there are hills and curves that will blow your mind. I can say that I have experience; I was very good at my profession. It is not an easy job. I feel for your stress and fear and frustration travelling these highways, even if they are flat.

Yes, the plow trucks put a line of salt on centre line.

This is proper procedure to turn off your spinner. The highway is supposed to be crowned so that the surface slopes to the shoulders. The salt then gets moved around by traffic. But salt chemicals will not work, and should not be applied below minus -7°C. We only sanded hills, corners, and bridges—not straight stretches—only black ice. Also, it is a huge error and expense and waste to put down any aggregate salt or sand in any heavy wind area. There are many of these areas between Little Current and South Baymouth. Any form of aggregate in these drift areas causes a snow trap. Snow will blow across a highway like sandpaper and keep on going.

Blowing snow is very abrasive and will keep the surface clear. Drifts should be plowed in direction of the wind, if possible. My concern with the is plow trucks themselves. They should be properly equipped with proper lights. Roto and strobe lights, alternating lights on back, wing light, and snow-free tail lights. I followed a plow truck pushing drifts that blew across the highway by East Manitoulin Airport. Roto light was not on, tail lights were covered in snow, back of truck was white, and lack of other lights mentioned. We must try to learn how to read the weather and road surface conditions and drive according to conditions. If you slip, you’re going too fast—slow down; this will get you to your destination every time, no matter what. Use your headlights and 4-ways if necessary.

White cars with no lights on: deadly. Most accidents in my district were caused by applying salt to have the highway bare so travellers would pick up speed and hit moose and deer licking salt on the centre line. We live in Canada. Get used to it.

Please be careful on billboard Highway 6. We would like to thank the Assiginack crew for their good work…and for their good care of the roads at Sunsite Estates.

James L. Mullen
Sunsite Estates