Government of New Brunswick

Each fall the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure mobilizes more than 450 plow trucks and pieces of equipment at nearly 100 maintenance depots around the province. Storage facilities are stocked with salt and sand to combat snow and ice on provincial roads. Each year about 150-thousand tonnes of salt and 300-thousand tonnes of sand are used on New Brunswick roads.

Air and pavement temperatures are key elements in determining the best treatment to keep snow and ice from building up on major roadways. That's why our highway supervisors' trucks are equipped with infrared pavement sensors that provide immediate, current temperature readings for the pavement surface and air.

Salt and sand are the common materials used in maintaining New Brunswick roads in winter. DTI uses more sand than salt. Sand is used on hills, turns and intersections where extra traction is needed.

Salt works by lowering the freezing point of ice or snow on the road surface. This causes the snow to melt into a salty, brine solution, helping the plowing process. Salt is also used to melt snow and ice left behind after plowing.

Salt becomes less effective as the pavement temperature drops. Below minus 10 degrees Celsius, salt use is impractical.

Road weather stations provide current data on wind, air temperature and pavement conditions.

The Department’s meteorological service uses this data and provides specialized weather forecasts to help highway supervisors make winter response decisions.

Plows are equipped with on-board computers that control the spread of materials based on speed. So no matter what speed the truck is moving, the right amount of salt is applied for the conditions.

DTI carefully plans and manages the use of salt to keep the roads clear while protecting the environment.

Good salt management includes using the right material, at the right time, in the right amount and the right place.

Dial 511 within New Brunswick / Dial 1-800-561-4063 outside of New Brunswick