Tons and Tons of Salt Used on County Roads (Photos)


More than 50,000 tons of salt has been used to treat county roads this winter.

Montgomery County crews have poured more than 50,000 tons of salt on 5,000 lane miles of county roads since the winter began late last year.

That’s the word from Keith Compton, division chief for Montgomery County’s Department of Highway Services.

Compton said that’s certainly a lot more than last year because this winter has seen more storms, and temperatures have remained below-freezing for longer periods of time.

What that means for the county’s highway crews is that the roads have to be treated multiple times before and after a winter storm to prevent icing.

The salt is housed in a brand new barn that county officials tout as the largest salt barn on the east coast. Compton said the barn has a capacity to hold 60,000 tons of salt. The salt, he says, is shipped from Chile and arrives at the Port of Baltimore where it is then loaded onto trucks and brought here.

Although some municipalities across the country are reporting salt shortages because of the arctic winter, Compton said because of advanced planning Montgomery County has plenty of salt to treat county highways, neighborhood streets and country roads.

Montgomery County does not supply salt or treat roads for the county’s local municipalities, such as the cities of Gaithersburg, Rockville and Takoma Park, or on state roads or on property in private homeowner associations.

So, how much is the active winter impacting the budget and will a supplemental be needed from the county coffers?

At this point, Compton said it’s too early to tell.

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Sonya Burke

About Sonya Burke

Sonya Burke is the Multimedia Manager at Montgomery Community Media (MCM). You can email story ideas at or reach her on Twitter @SonyaNBurke.


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