County Unveils New High-Tech Salt Spreaders 12-02-2010 - WNEM TV 5

County Unveils New High-Tech Salt Spreaders 12-02-2010

Saginaw County is using new technology not being used anywhere else in the nation to smartly spread salt on icy roads.
This week, the county started using a new system on seven of its salt spreaders, technology that's widely used on roads throughout Europe.
The device looks like your ordinary salt spreader, but it supplements the salt it spreads with liquid brine. What's different is that it's a temperature-based spreading application.
"As the truck’s driving the road, its sensors [are] picking up pavement temperature and adjusting application rates based on the road temperature," explained Brian Wendling, with the Saginaw Road Commission.
The infra-red temperature gauge is near the front of the truck and it's connected to a computer system in the truck’s cab that relays the information to the back of the truck.
As the temperature rises, less salt and brine solution is thrown out by the truck. As it gets colder, more solution is dumped out.
The county said it spent more than half a million dollars on the system, which they said will provide better service at much less cost. Wendling said the system will pay for itself within seven years. "We’re anticipating a 20-year life cycle on them, so we're going to have 13 years of just outright savings," said Wendling.
Wendling said the new system is also more efficient. On a multi-lane highway, the new setup is twice as fast as the old system.
Road commission officials said it will also save money on man hours, because drivers won't have to return to the salt barn as much.
A salt truck driver TV5 spoke with likes it for other reasons. "I’m glad to have it, I really am, because it's at the point now where I can concentrate on the people around me, not getting in the way, concentrate on the snow and that kind of stuff," driver Rob Meisel said.
One more benefit: The salt is spread lower, meaning cars won't be hit with as much of the rust-causing agent.
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