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Street Salt 'diet' Sharply Curtailed

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Although not entirely on a salt free diet, Ann Arbor streets this season are receiving a substantially r e d u c e d amount of this ice-control agent. The cutback in the use of salt to clear city streets of ice was begun last year by the Department of Public Works and was further reduced when the City Council recently adopted a policy of salt-onlywhere-needed. Salt is being used only on the city's major streets and on steep grades. Of the approximate 260 miles of streets within the city limits, some 75 miles of them are being salted for ice control. DPW Supt. Fredrick A. Mammei says the city's use of salt "is still higher than I would like to see it," but adds the necessity for the amount of salt used is caused by the types of winter storms the city has been having to date. He did say, however, that the city is using less salt this year than in past years for the same types of storms. Comparing Ann Arbor salt use to that in Grand Rapids, Mammei said in a recent storm the Western Michigan city received VA inches of snow and Ann Arbor one inch. "They have about twice the miles of streets (600) as we do but used 10 times more salt," he said. Ann Arbor's neighborhood streets are receiving a sand-chloride mixture for ice control, except on steep grades where salt is deemed necessary. Plowing of streets has not been necessary very frequently this season because snowfalls have not been that heavy. Mammei says plowing is not done unless snow reaches about a s i x-i n c h depth. A brochure detailing the city's ice control program is being prepared in City Hall and is expected to be ready for distribution to the public early next month. The brochure states that "citizens are asked to study this map (the above map which will be included in the brochure) and plan their travel with these routes in mind." Of the 75 miles of streets receiving salt treatment, about 8 miles are state trunklines. The Department of State Highways employs the city to maintain these trunklines and has ordered that all trunklines be kept open and safe for travel. Thus, about 10 per cent of the city's salting program is mandatory. The council's resolution regarding the use of salt came about after an intense study conducted by the Natural Resources Committee and the Interdepartmental Environmental Committee. Major concerns raised over the use of salt were its effects on vegetation and the Huron River, and its destructive qualities relating to the automobile. Further study of these issues has been requested, and it is anticipated additional reductions in the use of salt will come about in future years.


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