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A brine solution dribbles from a series of outlets on a line at the back of a city salt and sanding truck. The solution is applied to bare roads before a snowfall so it can melt snow as it drops. (Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com)

Spray before snow cuts use of salt on roads in St. Louis County

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Hours before the next big winter snow hits, state highway crews will be out in force, spraying a brine of salt and water onto roadways.

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The mixture, which melts snow as it lands on the roads, has been used by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and University of Minnesota for several years. This winter, St. Louis County is similarly investing in new technology to cut salt use, and the city of Duluth likewise is conducting experiments, using salt brine mixed with beet juice.

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