FOREST PARK, Ga. - For the first time, the Georgia Department of Transportation is using brine to pretreat all of the major roads. So far this winter season, GDOT has sprayed well over 100,000 gallons of the salt solution before any precipitation falls. It’s a new practice not everyone is used to seeing.
“If it’s going to help improve the roads, I mean, last year was such a mess in Atlanta, so why not?” driver Ashley Pittman said.
DOWNLOAD: Severe Weather Team 2 App
Channel 2 Action News went to the GDOT maintenance facility in Forest Park where they’re making the salt and water mixture. The brine prevents ice and snow from sticking as fast to the roads, allowing crews extra time to get a leg up on any storm. Several viewers have called and emailed asking questions about the new practice. The number one question: Is brine safe for the roads? Will the roads begin to crumble in several months or years because of it? DOT leaders said their research indicates the roads will be fine.
“Obviously, states up north use this very successfully, and they’re using it weekly during the season,” spokeswoman Natalie Dale said. “We don’t have to use it that much, and we are fortunate because long term, year after year after year, it could cause some corrosiveness to the pavement, but we’re not using it that much.”
Dale also explained that using the brine before the storm means they can put down less salt and gravel during the storm. That rock salt is one reason why we see many potholes after crews have plowed. The brine solution goes down 24 hours in advance.
“That gives it time to set on the road, seep into the road, and get just ahead of the storm, to where you have an effective brine treatment (and are) not caught off guard by the storm,” Dale said.
Drivers said they’ll wait to see if the solution works. GDOT said it already is.
“We are seeing great results, because our temperatures reached freezing, and we had a lot of precipitation left on road, lot of moisture, but we didn’t see the iciness that we would have seen had we not had that layer of defense. So this is a positive step for us,” Dale said.