The State Department of Transportation is launching a new pilot program to reduce the impact of salt on Route 5 in Herkimer County this winter.

State DOT Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez announced the launch of the salt reduction pilot program today.

The program will cover a 9-mile stretch of Route 5, beginning at the Oneida County line and ending in the Village of Ilion.

DOT officials say the straight, flat stretch of Route 5 is an ideal candidate for the next pilot as it's located near the Department of Transportation residency where salt brine is stored.

The pilot program will use a liquid-only operation, distributing salt brine to coat the roadways instead of granular salt for anti-icing during snow and ice events.

The brine is dispensed through a spray bar, mounted to a plow truck outfitted with a large brine tank instead of a salt hopper.

“New York State has some of the harshest winter weather conditions in the country and the State Department of Transportation is dedicated to fulfilling its mandatory legal responsibilities to maintain a safe highway system during the snow and ice season, and recent pilots have demonstrated that we can do this in a way that also reduces the impacts on the environment,” Commissioner Dominguez said. “The salt reduction pilot program we are launching in Herkimer County builds upon the successes of previous pilot programs, and allows us to continue to explore the most effective and sustainable solutions to keep New York’s motorists safe.”

DOT officials say the program is comparable to one that was launched during the last snow season on Route 9 and Route 32 in Saratoga County.

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