Letters: Too much salt?
Too much salt? It's the end of December and already the salt trucks have been out many times. There are 135,500 miles of roads and bridges in Minnesota and according to a MnDOT engineer, it costs up to $54 (or more) per mile to salt highways. Bas...
Too much salt?
It's the end of December and already the salt trucks have been out many times.
There are 135,500 miles of roads and bridges in Minnesota and according to a MnDOT engineer, it costs up to $54 (or more) per mile to salt highways. Based on these figures, if it snows anywhere from a trace on up, it could potentially cost taxpayers $6,775,000 per service.
According to former House Speaker Steve Sviggum and a MnDOT engineer, one of the main reasons for the accelerated deterioration of roads and bridges is salt. Salt causes a constant freeze-thaw condition that decreases the life expectancy of roadbeds. It also causes massive corrosion to metal in the road-bridge structure. The state spends a lot of money to repair roads and then turns right around and spends a huge amount to rebuild that same road (Highway 34).
Steve Murphy (DFL) says that we are $400 million short for much needed funds. On the other hand, other officials say the increased accelerated deterioration of roads and bridges because of salt could balance out or exceed that $400 million.
Taxpayers' costs for rust, corrosion and maintenance of school buses in Minnesota is an estimated $10,620,000 minimum and could be many times higher. This figure does not include commercial, other government or your own private vehicles.
Cleanup of this debris in the spring also costs taxpayers a lot of money. We did not find an official number but we're sure Minnesota spends many millions to clean roads, bridges and drainage systems.
Environmentally, salt is harmful to plants and water systems. We did not find an impact study for Minnesota but there are other states that prohibit salt usage near rivers, streams and bodies of water.
Salt is a very important element to use during extreme conditions and for public safety. On the other hand it's possible that this service is costing taxpayers plus/minus a billion dollars a year. So when we start dragging the stuff into our homes, garages, shops, schools and churches, have we gone too far?