City is 'salt-only,' unless there's a safety concern

Wednesday, December 29, 2010 | 3:03 p.m. CST; updated 4:31 p.m. CST, Wednesday, December 29, 2010

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.



Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Bill Fisher December 31, 2010 | 7:35 p.m.

Wait, cinders provide traction? That's news to me. Anyway, I love the salt! Streets were clear in no time after the snow we got on Christmas Eve. :)

(Report Comment)

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.