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The Sun is Shining, Why is ODOT Brining?

Benefits of treating roadways ahead of frost, snow are substantial

LIMA – (Monday, November 29, 2010) Every year as the transition from fall and ultimately to winter occurs, the question is asked, “Why is ODOT treating the roads when there is no snow in the forecast?”

The Ohio Department of Transportation District 1 has been out in recent weeks treating area highways with brine, a salt and water solution, which when dry appears as white stripes on the highway.

The ideal time to apply brine is before it’s needed. “The idea is to have the material on the roadway so it’s there, ready to work when the weather comes,” said Leonard E. Brown, ODOT District 1 deputy director.

Salt and other chemicals are used to treat roads because they are a freeze point depressant which means they lower the temperature at which water goes from a solid state to a liquid state.

This time of year is especially crucial for timing the application of brine. “Frost on the overhead bridges is our main concern right now. Our crews have been concentrating on treating bridge decks so they won’t become slick,” said Luke Johansen, district highway management administrator.

It’s best to apply brine when roads are dry, rain is not forecasted for the next 24 hours, temperatures are expected to remain between 20-35 degrees Fahrenheit and when sufficient brine material does not appear to be present.


It’s a delicate balance, but one that ODOT has been successful in achieving since it began using brine technology in the mid 1990s.


With brine application units in each county in the district’s eight-county region which includes Allen, Defiance, Hancock, Hardin, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert and Wyandot counties, and also two, 5,500 gallon brine tanker trucks, district highways can be treated  in a relatively short amount of time.


“When we get deeper into winter when pavement temperatures cool and when conditions warrant, we apply brine to all four-lane and two-lane highways. That takes time to complete so we’re usually out a day or two prior to a major change in the weather. So when you see us out applying brine and the sun is shining, you’d better check the weather forecast because a change is coming,” said Brown.


For more information contact:
Rhonda Pees, Public Information Officer, at (419) 999-6803
or email