ODOT adding salt to Interstate 84 this winter

Rock salt will be used to combat ice on Interstate 84 this winter for the first time in at least two decades

LA GRANDE, Ore. (AP) – Rock salt will be used to combat ice on Interstate 84 this winter for the first time in at least two decades.

The La Grande Observer newspaper reports the salt will be used along with the liquid magnesium chloride and crushed gravel the Oregon Department of Transportation has traditionally used to make roads safer.

ODOT spokesman Tom Strandberg says magnesium chloride lowers the freezing level of water, but not to the degree salt does.

ODOT has used salt for the past five years on two roadways: a 120-mile stretch of Highway 95 in southeastern Oregon, and an 11-mile stretch of Interstate 5 over Siskiyou Pass.

The number of crashes dropped by 23% on the salted portion of Highway 95 and 27% on the I-5 test area.