Crews to use salt on Portland roads as part of winter storm resp - KPTV - FOX 12

Crews to use salt on Portland roads as part of winter storm response expansion

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Crews from Seattle applied salt on roads in Portland during a storm last month. (KPTV) Crews from Seattle applied salt on roads in Portland during a storm last month. (KPTV)
Commissioner Dan Saltzman and PBOT Director Leah Treat announced an expansion of the city's winter storm response Wednesday. (KPTV) Commissioner Dan Saltzman and PBOT Director Leah Treat announced an expansion of the city's winter storm response Wednesday. (KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

The Portland Bureau of Transportation will use up to 100 tons of road salt on at least three Portland roadways due to the winter storm expected to hit Thursday.

It is the largest use of road salt in the modern history of Portland.

Brief snow is expected Thursday afternoon, followed by freezing rain overnight.  

Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who oversees PBOT, announced an expansion of the bureau's winter storm response Wednesday.

That expansion includes the use of salt on North Going Street, Southwest Terwilliger Boulevard and Southeast 112th Avenue in the Mount Scott area.

"We want to make sure we're measuring impacts on water quality, on fish and wildlife and we want to make sure it really delivers and does de-ice for us," Saltzman said.

Salt brought down from the Seattle Department of Transportation was used during a snow and ice storm last month in Portland. PBOT released a statement at that time saying the effect of the road salt was "limited" and did not provide a significant improvement compared to the bureau's standard de-icer.

PBOT Director Leah Treat said Wednesday that the salt's effectiveness was inconclusive last month due to when it was used during the storm. It is expected salt will be applied Thursday evening ahead of freezing rain this time around.

"We do expect that the road salt will be more effective and we look forward to the opportunity to get it tested on our roads," she said.

PBOT is also expanding the city's 1,120 lane miles of plow routes to include up to 340 miles of additional public school bus routes. That is a 30 percent increase in the number of lane miles covered by PBOT.

Drivers, however, were still advised to avoid traveling if possible during severe winter weather.

"None of it is a substitute for drivers using good judgment, common sense," Saltzman said.

Additionally, PBOT will work with the Portland Water Bureau to see if their planned equipment purchases can include trucks able to accommodate a snow plow attachment, similar to PBOT dump trucks.

The city is also negotiating a mutual aid agreement with Seattle for the two cities to share resources in response to severe winter weather events.

PBOT has requested $2.8 million from the city's general fund budget for 2017-2018 to expand the bureau's ability to clear roads during winter storms.

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