Cranberry’s road savings top estimates
April 2, 2013

CRANBERRY TWP — Investments in liquid brine making and spreading equipment to supplement rock salt to treat roads has resulted in higher than projected cost savings.

Jason Dailey, Cranberry’s public works director, told supervisors March 27 that initially, he projected a $500 per snow event cost savings by adding brine mixture to the rock salt.

However, the savings has been five times more than projected at $2,500 per event. Cranberry had spent $110,000 in recent years for the equipment and spreaders.

The public works crew currently maintains 120 miles of roads and 290 cul de sacs.

Dailey said since Nov. 24, crews handled 46 snow storms with an average cost of $4,900 per storm and the use of 75 tons of salt per storm.

The township has 20 trucks equipped for winter and 18 CDL drivers.

Dailey said the township currently uses a mix of liquid brine, magnesium chloride, rock salt and aggregate during ice storms.

With the brine, the township has reduced rock salt usage by 43 percent or $13,195 on the large 10-ton truck’s route and 32 percent or $5,785 on the smaller truck routes this winter, he said.

The goal of the Cranberry public works crews is to apply the liquid brine in advance of storms. State Department of Transportation crews have done this in recent years.

Dailey said the benefits of pretreating roads with brine are that it prevents initial bonding of snow and ice to the road surface. It also reduces the impact of frost, provides longer traction time and provides more time before needing treated again by public works crews.