PBOT salt use seems to pass early test

Freezing rain affected large areas of the Portland metro

PBOT ordered several tons of rock salt to help keep roads clear when freezing rain hit the Portland area on February 2 and 3, 2017. (KOIN)
PBOT ordered several tons of rock salt to help keep roads clear when freezing rain hit the Portland area on February 2 and 3, 2017. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland Bureau of Transportation says its use of salt on some metro area roads was a success.

PBOT obtained 100 tons of rock salt and began salting the roads over Thursday night. This was the first time the city used its own salt to keeps roads clear of ice in at least 30 years.

“We have folks here that have been working for over 30 years for the bureau and they said this is the first time in their memory that PBOT has every used salt so this is the first time PBOT has used salt on its own,” spokesperson John Brady said.

During the last storm in mid-January, crews from the Seattle Department of Transportation came down to Portland with plows and salt for the roads. PBOT felt that worked out fairly well, so this time around they asked their supplier of magnesium chloride for salt as well.

The plan was to use salt on 3 main stretches: SW Terwilliger Blvd, N. Going St. and SE 112th Ave. PBOT also focused on 13 miles of Germantown Rd. and Skyline. In total, 36 miles of road were treated with salt

A 30-vehicle pileup left I-5 near Capitol Highway a tangled mess early Friday. A number of other crashes were reported throughout the region but no major injury crashes.

On Wednesday, Portland Commissioner Dan Saltzman and officials with PBOT said they would use 100 tons of rock salt in specific areas for this upcoming storm.

Friday mornig, PBOT tweeted the early tests seemed successful:

But with another round of — let’s face it, lousy weather — on tap, PBOT officials will have to decide if they’re going to expand the areas where the salt was used.

KOIN 6 News will have more information later in the day.