Episode 72: Designing in salt reduction

By May 30, 2023Podcasts

Management of salt and salt reduction isn’t solely on the shoulders of maintenance operations. In many cases salt use is necessary to address problematic areas that maybe could have been mitigated with a more winter sensitive design. On this episode were visiting with Connie Fortin, Todd Hubmer, and Chris Chromy of Bolton & Menk on their approach with a new perspective on designs to optimize winter operations and minimizing the need for salt.

Designing new facilities or retrofitting existing facilities is the result of hundreds of tradeoffs and compromises with the goal of reaching the optimal sub-optimal solution. Long term operational costs of a highway facilities can include pavement maintenance, rehabilitation schedules, safety benefits, and other costs but seldom include the costs of winter maintenance like chemicals, equipment, and level of effort to provide a resilient network. Maximizing solar radiation, minimizing drifting snow, and eliminating the repeat offenders where melt water refreezes can dramatically reduce the need for chemicals throughout the life of the facilities.
For more information about winter sensitive design considerations you can contact Connie Fortin, Senior Project Manager at , Todd Hubmer, Principal Water Resource Engineer at, or Chris Chromy, Senior Principal Transportation Engineer at

0:00 Introduction
1:14 Chloride use is a blessing and a curse
4:03 unique things to consider in design
7:50 The maintenance worker has to live with the design we give them
11:53 Design possibilities for existing infrastructure
13:18 Vegetation options
14:28 A different thought process
17:45 Geometric considerations
20:40 Safety considerations
22:30 Challenges
28:02 Advise to owners contemplating a design in winter regions
33.14 Listening vs understanding
35:28 Signoff

SICOP Talks Winter Ops is always looking for interesting topics and guests to visit with regarding winter maintenance and road weather. If you have any ideas for future episodes contact Rick Nelson at or our our co-producer Scott Lucas at