ODOT Tests Salt Pilot Project

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The Siskiyou Pass is one of two five-year pilot projects where ODOT would use salt in limited weather and roadway conditions. Both pilot projects focus on areas adjoining neighboring states that use salt on their parts of these highways; travelers crossing the state border expect similar roadway conditions across the state border, but run into vastly different conditions. This increases the likelihood of crashes and injuries.

California uses salt to reduce the buildup of snowpack on Interstate 5 in the Siskiyou Pass. The Oregon side of Interstate 5 often experiences packed snow, which leads to chain restrictions, travel delays and road closures.

ODOT will investigate salt use along the 11-mile stretch of the Siskiyou Pass to match driver expectations from California.

Both Nevada and Idaho use salt to reduce snowpack on U.S. 95, which runs for about 120 miles through the southeast corner of Oregon. At the two state borders, travelers entering Oregon experience different roadway conditions, moving from slush to hard-packed snow and ice. These border areas experience more crashes. Using salt in limited conditions could help improve roadway surface consistency, reducing dangerous driving conditions and reducing crashes and injuries.

ODOT will conduct these pilot projects for five years to assess whether the limited use of salt can help reduce crashes and injuries and meet driver expectations across state borders. ODOT does not have plans to use salt anywhere else.

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