Looking for Solutions to Roads Damaged By Winter Salt

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Ames, Iowa- At the Institute For Transportation at Iowa State they’ve been working on a salty problem. Roads which were expected to last a long time, were falling apart.

"About 10 years ago we started observed that the saw cuts in the joints in concrete payments were falling apart, a lot faster than we would like,” said Dr. Peter Taylor, who is Director of the National Pavement Technology Center, part of the Institute for Transportation at Iowa State University. "Predominantly happening in the middle west Minnesota Wisconsin Michigan and Iowa.

Three Universities began to tackle the problem.

"The cause is behind us premature failing is a chemical reaction between the concrete and some of the modern de-icing salt that are being used to keep ice and snow off the pavement," said Taylor.

Taylor has been working with the City of West Des Moines to develop new recipes for concrete which curtail the problems with salt use.

"For the existing concrete use the salt wisely not saying don't use it,” said Taylor. “As a parent of a teenage child learning to drive, I'm more than happy for the roads to be clear of all ice and snow.”

One option Taylor said may be considered is to put some type of sealant over the joints of the pavement.