Oakland County salt trucks rush to clear roads before temperatures dip to dangerous lows

Salt, brine won't work in extreme cold

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. – Crews in Oakland County are rushing to clear the roads before temperatures dip this week.

Michigan is bracing for a stretch of dangerous cold beginning Wednesday. While the snow stopped falling Monday, road workers want to make sure the streets are completely clear before the polar vortex because salt and brine won't work when the temperatures get too low.

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"We stop salting when we get to the low or single digits," said Craig Bryson, with the Oakland County Road Commission. "It does nothing. It's a waste of money; we're just throwing money away if we do that."

The road commission workers are working overtime and the county is bringing in contractors to completely clear the roads.

Bryson said a sand-brine combo can be used on icy roads in extreme conditions, and the mix is used on gravel roads, but it's not ideal for paved streets.

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"We don't like to do it on the paved roads because it doesn't melt the ice -- all it does is add traction on top of the ice," he said. "If we have storm sewers and drainage ditches, it can clog the system, which then causes flooding problems in the spring, so you solve one problem to create another problem."