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Maine winter roads : salt, safety, environment and cost.
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  • Alternative Title:
    Maine winter roads : salt, safety, environment and cost : [executive summary].
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  • Abstract:
    This report presents the results of a fourteen-month effort by a research team from the University of

    Maine in cooperation with the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) to conduct

    research, engage stakeholders, provide information, and foster policy discussion on the use of salts

    on winter roads in Maine and the consequences of that use. The overall goal of the project was to

    develop among all stakeholders a common understanding of the public policy issues and the

    relationships of funding, current research, levels of service, and risks associated with the use of road

    salt. To achieve this goal, the project included both research and public outreach components. The

    research components of the project were to create an expanded knowledge base of information and

    the public outreach components were to ensure widespread availability and dissemination of that


    Safe, passable roads in winter are necessary for commerce and mobility. Public works agencies and

    private contractors maintain Maine roads. Levels of service (how often and how quickly roads are

    cleared) are driven by public expectations (as expressed through local and state governments) and by

    available technologies. Winter road maintenance is funded by taxpayers. Chloride salts are currently

    the most effective and economical material for maintaining safe, passable winter roads. Salts corrode

    vehicles, affect infrastructure, and compromise water quality; these are the additional costs of winter

    mobility and safety. Level of service is a balance of the tradeoffs of safety, environmental impact,

    and cost.

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