“Mag Chloride controls dust, and stabilizes the road surface,” explained San Miguel County Road and Bridge Superintendent Mike Horner. “It’s a huge money and gravel saver, and it keeps a lot of dust out of the air. However we are always experimenting, trying to find something that will hold up well with less salt in it.”
For the past three years, crews have been using a product that incorporates Lignosulfate, a tree-sap byproduct, to reduce the amount of Mag Chloride used by 20 percent.
“The Lignosulfate is all organic, and acts as a binder on the road,” Horner said. “And it reduces the amount of Mag Chloride and salt that we have to put down.”
This summer, crews will test an even newer product called Durablend, one that combines 70 percent Mag Chloride with an organic polymer.
“It only requires half the usual application to make it work, so essentially we would be reducing our use of straight Mag Chloride from 80 to 70 percent, and then cutting that in half,” Horner said. “If this product works, it will mean a huge reduction in Mag.”
If the product works properly, drivers should notice no difference at all, he said.
“We have also been working with the Town of Ophir, using a product called “XHesion” that has no Mag Chloride in it at all, only organic polymers—it is 100 percent safe for the environment,” he said. “We have tried it in the West End and it did not hold up as well, but the Town of Ophir asked us to give it a try, and so we are.”
Those with questions can call Horner at 327-4835, or visit the county’s web site at www.sanmiguelcounty.org.