Updated: 03/04/2013 11:25 PM KSTP.com By: Todd Wilson
In 2010-11 MnDOT spent $81.1 million on snow and ice removal. A healthy portion was spent on salt.
Kent Barnard works for MnDOT. He is driving down 35W in a snowplow.
"When we're going down the road we are kind of assessing the way the road looks in front of us," Barnard said.
MnDOT purchases its salt in the spring for the next winter season. It is bought on a 80-120 contract.
"Which means we guarantee we'll purchase up to 80% of the amount we bid on, but we can get it up to 120% over that at the same price," Barnard said.
By mid summer MnDOT starts getting their deliveries. Cargill is one of their main suppliers.
MnDOT plows about 12,000 miles of state highways and interstates in Minnesota. The state agency has 1,400 full time snowplow drivers, 800 snowplows and 154 truck stations. Nineteen of those stations are in the Twin Cities Metro area.
MnDOT uses two types of trucks to plow roads. The one you are looking at holds about 12 yards of salt. The one I'm kneeling in is the smaller one, it holds 7 to 8. Here's the thing, the spinner that you see that's under the truck, that's calibrated to the speed of the truck.
"We can actually dial in exactly how many pounds per lane mile of salt we're putting out," Barnard said.
Barnard says it makes things more cost effective and doesn't overload the environment.