During the recent cold snap temperatures have dropped below zero. Mix that with snow and the salt on the roads can't do its job. That's why the New Hartford Highway Department has invested in a new piece of equipment that will clear the roads in even the coldest of temperatures.
It's a machine that liquefies salt, turning it into a brine-solution that's spread on the roads before big snow storms. Plain salt is ineffective when temps drop below sixteen-degrees, but the brine can work even in sub-zero weather.
Among the trucks in the New Hartford Town Highway Garage is a new installation. It's a fully computerized salt-brine machine that pumps out one-thousand gallons of the stuff in just thirty minutes.
"Water comes through, goes through the system, goes through the salt, there's a station outside on the back wall, trucks will come to that, push start and it fills the tank," said Highway Superintendent Richard Sherman.
The saline solution settles into tiny crevices on roadways, creating a layer that prevents the ice and snow from bonding with the pavement.
"Before the bad weather comes it sits on the road and when the snow hits it immediately starts to melt it," said Town Supervisor Patrick Tyksinski.
That makes it more effective than normal salt, but it's also more cost effective, he says.
"One ton of salt now may cover one- hundred miles of road whereas a ton of salt used in a brine mix will probably cover maybe five or six hundred miles of road," he said.
And soon it won't be just New Hartford drivers that get to take advantage to the brine other villages have the option of buying brine at twenty cents per gallon to take care of their snowy roads.
For an idea on how much that might cost, 65-hundred-thousand gallons are need to cover all of New Hartford's roads.
"Any other municipalities that want to also get in on this can purchase it from us but there's no profit in it there its basically just covering our costs," said Tyksinski.
And more importantly, the brine is safe.
"It's pet friendly so people concerned about walking their dogs, its environmentally friendly," said Sherman.
It should be going out on New Hartford's main roads in just a few days.