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Single-digit temperatures will cut effectiveness of road salt in coming days

Eddie Basler
Wikimedia Commons

A cold snap expected to last until Thursday could make for treacherous driving conditions across much of Michigan. Officials are warning drivers to be aware of snow and ice, to slow down and to keep plenty of space between vehicles.

Tim Croze, the maintenance and operations manager for the Michigan Department of Transportation, said it is so cold that salting the roads is not helping. He said salting roads becomes less effective when temperatures drop below 15 degrees.

“At times we can actually make things worse by applying salt,” he told Michigan Public Radio. “You get a roadway that’s covered by snow and ice, you apply salt, that salt will start to melt as expected, but then it will re-freeze and you’ll turn snow into almost like glare ice.”

MDOT is responsible for maintaining interstate roads, U.S. highways and ‘M’ roads across the state of Michigan. Anything else would be maintained by a local government such as a county road commission or a local municipality.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network.