Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Road Salt

I grew up in Montreal where road salt was commonly used on the roads throughout the winter. Salt is used to prevent any melted snow from freezing. Salt will chemically bond to the water molecule and prevent it from joining with other molecules into a solid, slippery death trap. In the short term, it can help to make winter driving a little less hazardous though I really think that learning winter driving skills would work just as well. Still, cities in this part of the country use road salt during the winter and none more lavishly than Ottawa. It just seems to me that every time more than a few centimetres of snow falls, out come the heavy trucks, armed with sprayers and flinging hard, dried chunks of salt everywhere like one of those grass seed sprayers. While I argue that there's really no need for this there are at least as many who argue for having road salt and that's fine.
Yet, the effect of road salt usage isn't all good. Salt is corrosive especially to cars and we see this by the increasing numbers of rusting, salt encrusted hulks skidding and sliding along the artificially slushy roads. When the last of winter's snow finally recedes, many are the homeowners who note the existence of a brown line of dead grass or whatever foliage they have growing bordering their property. That's salt damage.
The weather right now is getting nicer and nicer (we were really getting quite hot coming home from running errands) and the temptation to bring out the trikes is becoming quite strong. But, until the snow is completely gone and we get a really good spring rain-shower to give the roads a final cleaning up (at least until next winter), we will just have to be patient.

EDIT: Patience pays off - maybe
According to the weather forecast, especially on The Weather Network (TWN), we can expect a really good couple of days of rain later this week. We only need one half-way decent rainshower to wash away the salty remnants before we can hit the road...

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