COLUMBIA — No matter where you live in Columbia, your roads will be treated with cinders when safety is a concern. But, for the first time, a salt-only policy extends to all roads maintained by the city.
"I think the intention is to entirely eliminate cinders wherever possible, meaning there are very few instances where we'll actually use them," Second Ward Councilman Jason Thornhill said.
The complaints against cinders are that they're dirty, ugly and potentially hurt the environment. But in extreme circumstances, when ice is involved or the temperature is too low for salt to be effective, the city will still use a salt-and-cinders mix to provide drivers with traction and to more efficiently melt snow.
"It's really a physical trait that cinders possess that other methods of snow and ice removal do not, that your tires can gain traction," said Thornhill, who was among those pushing for a salt-only winter. "All those other methods just don't provide physical traction."
The Village of Cherry Hill in western Columbia and the District were designated salt-only areas a number of years ago, said Public Works spokeswoman Jill Stedem.
"That goes back to a request from the businesses in those areas," she said.
But a salt-cinder mix has been used in those areas, too, when conditions called for it.