It is critical that the City is consistently investigating the best methods and technologies to keep our roads, sidewalks, and trails safe. In the past, the City of Edmonton has used salt as a means to melt ice on the roads and increase traction. This past year, administration started a pilot project using a substance called calcium chloride, in conjunction with salt, to maintain the roads. While the city has been using calcium chloride for many years, the increased use of calcium chloride and salt has garnered significant media and community attention, as many Edmontonians have noticed a change on the roads. 

I had a chance to put together a longer video as I wanted to make sure everyone had all the information on this. For example, the city has been using salt and calcium chloride since as far back as at least 2001. As noted in the video, that doesn’t mean we should continue to use it but I want to make sure everyone has all of the information because the debate should likely be about the use of any salt and calcium chloride going forward and what that will mean for the conditions of our road in the winter.

 I’m leaning more towards eliminating all salt/calcium chloride usage but I want to make sure people would be ok with much icier roads during the winter months as it means we’d have to drive more cautiously since sand only works in very specific circumstances and is quite ineffective on roads with speeds of 50km/h or more. One other idea might be to pilot no salt/calcium chloride usage this winter before making a permanent decision because we haven’t had a winter since at least 2001 where there wasn’t some level of salt and calcium chloride used on our roads. As noted in the video, here is a chart that provides a breakdown of how much we have been using of each tool since 2001. Once you have a chance to watch, I’d be interested in any additional feedback you may have. 


1 Comment

  1. David Hinchliffe on August 14, 2019 at 6:20 pm

    Hi Andrew,

    Great Video post.

    You are correct the city has been using both salt and calcium chloride in the past but in the last 2 years calcium chloride use has doubled or tripled. Salt use has also increased quite a bit as well.
    I recently moved back from Brandon , Manitoba and they do not use near the same amount of either proportionately and everyone manages fine by just slowing down and increasing the distance to the vehicle in front of them. It is an accepted part of winter driving.
    In fact they use very little road salt (based on my observation) as it is ineffective at temperatures below -10.
    I am not sure if they have used calcium chloride but I doubt they do as I would have observed melting after snow events.
    It would be far cheaper if everyone used good winter tires as aposed to replacing a vehicle every 5 to 8 years because it is so rusted out and no longer safe to drive.
    Since I moved back this last May I am shocked at the number of accidents this past summer and I fear for what is to come this winter.
    Again everyone just needs to learn to slow down, increase their following distance, know that intersections are going to be icy and get off their phones.

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