In accordance with the Best Practices outlined in the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) Statewide Salt Management Plan, SHA’s Garrett County shop has the following practices in place for the winter 2013-2014 season to reduce salt use and minimize impacts to the environment while achieving a safe level of service.
The training materials provided to drivers and private truck owners outlined the practices that are described under SHA Operations, including the following:
- Drivers are using only as much salt as necessary,
- Environmental concerns associated with salt use,
- Use of abrasive mixes (limestone grit and salt in 50/50, 70/30, or 90/10 stone-to-salt ratios) during the overnight hours,
- Drivers switch to a higher salt concentration once the sun has risen,
- How to minimize bounce and scatter,
- Use of pre-wet salt, and
During the training, participants received copies of the Snowfighter's Handbook: A Practical Guide for Snow and Ice Control.
SHA trained employees and contractors in salt reduction practices on the following dates:
- October 8, 2013: Hired Truck Owners/Drivers’ Training
- October 9, 2013: Pre-winter District-wide Meeting for SHA Snow Managers
- October 10, 2013: Garrett County fall truck inspection
- October 29 and 30, 2013: Winter Snow College for new/temporary SHA employees
- November 13-19, 2013: SHA winter temporary employee training
- Training included a combination of classroom and hands-on training.
- November 22, 2013: A Town Hall Meeting was held with all staff to discuss plowing techniques and salt reduction; The District Engineer, Assistant District Engineer for Maintenance, and Resident Maintenance Engineer participated.
Pre-Storm Actions and Reminders
- Assign two SHA trucks per section on the interstate.
- Eliminate precautionary salt treatment before storms.
- Use abrasive mixes (limestone grit and salt) with more abrasive than salt.
- During major events, operate a Tow Plow west of Exit 19 (Grantsville) and an Oshkosh plow with wing east of Exit 19 to maximize plowing efficiency.
- Use “salt use tracking forms” for all (SHA and contractor) drivers.
Actions and Reminders During a Storm Event
- Ensure all team leaders are monitoring their sections and adjusting as needed to maximize the number of “eyes on the road.”
- Add additional snow monitors to monitor salt use.
- Loader operators will report trucks using more than the ideal amounts of salt.
- Stress efficient use of salt to operators when deploying SHA and contractor trucks.
- Eliminate the practice of using heavy salt to melt snow at the end of a storm.
- Assign hired plow-only (no salt) trucks to interstate plow trains.
- Follow recommendations to reduce scatter and bounce of salt.
- Salt trucks should travel as slowly as possible.
- Set maximum spreader rates where available (SHA trucks have gauges);
- Use pre-wetting tanks where available (SHA trucks).
- Rely more on abrasive mixes (limestone grit and salt in 50/50, 70/30, or 90/10 stone-to-salt ratios) during the overnight hours when temperatures are lower, and
- Wait until the sun is up to switch to higher salt concentration mixes.
- Analyze salt use per section after each event
- Hold post-storm managers’ meetings and town hall meetings to address issues
- Provide mobile devices to team leaders and managers to improve communications by allowing mobile access to CHART cameras, weather forecast, email and more.
- Provide a portable dashboard camera to the Garrett County Shop.
- Place a portable camera along eastbound I-68 at the one mile marker.
- Add technology to track truck locations and monitor operations.
- Install cameras at spreaders to allow operators to visually monitor salt use.
- Use pre-wetting tanks on SHA trucks as systems become operational.
- Three new single-axle wing snow plows.
- One new double-wing tandem snow plow.