The Oregon Department of Transportation has announced a new policy to use salt to treat roads in targeted and limited locations.
Apart from a study project in parts of the state, the agency doesn’t use salt to treat roadways because of environmental concerns.
“We’ll use it statewide in a limited basis now,” said Don Hamilton, a spokesperson for ODOT.
“Salt has a very significant impact, both economically on the roads and environmentally,” he said. “Those are all things that need to be considered. It is fair to say though we’ve been doing a pilot project in far southeast and far southwest Oregon to see if it’s an effective tool that we can use to help improve the state of the roads during winter events.”
ODOT’s policy shift comes days after a snowstorm blanked much of the state, causing icy roads and school closures. The storm left Portland traffic snarled for hours and many students stranded on buses well into the night.
Now, the state’s largest city is gearing up for more winter weather.
Forecasters predict another dusting of snow is headed to the Portland metro area and parts of Southwest Washington on Saturday.
Matthew Cullen, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Portland, said the amount of snow will be light.
“Only up to a half an inch of snow and basically stretching from the Longview-Kelso area, through the Portland metro area down as far as about Salem,” Cullen said.
Friday night will be around 16 degrees in the Portland area, Cullen said.