City of Edmonton chooses road salt over calcium chloride for winter roads
EDMONTON -- The City will not be using calcium chloride to help clear streets again this year, despite one councillor's worries the replacement is just as bad for the environment and infrastructure.
For the second winter in a row, city crews will attempt to salt and scrape their way to bare pavement.
"We have to be realistic in the environment we work in, but that is a goal in terms of having a safe mobility network," said Brian Simpson with the City of Edmonton.
Council decided in 2019 the chemical de-icer would only used on bike lanes and sidewalks in response to public concerns it was eating away at undercarriages and infrastructure.
But Ward 9 Coun.Tim Cartmell believes salt has similar drawbacks.
"I have real concerns," said Cartmell.
A city report found virtually no difference in damage caused by calcium chloride and road salt. Cartmell says it's hard to know for sure, because the city only has detailed data from three winters.
"I have grave concerns about the data we're collecting, and the data we're not collecting," said Cartmell.
City staff studied the impact snow-clearing methods have had in seven different areas including traction, corrosion and the eco system. It's data they'll continue to collect for years to come.
"You have to start some place, and we are starting a program, and it's only three years old," said Simpson. "In time we'll have a better understanding of what the data is telling us."
The city says it's simply trying to provide the safest winter roads at the lowest possible cost, while keeping damage to a minimum.
Cartmell believes road crews should at least have calcium chloride as an option.
"We've moved away actually from the effective way of combining those products, to a strategy that is very much more harmful and detrimental," said Cartmell.
Council will receive road updates throughout the winter so councillors can weigh in on any adjustments.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson.