We’re trying to make the Lake water quality last
With apologies to Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, there’s an important program starting this winter on Route 9N that will slow (and potentially stop) the increase in salt in one major road corridor along the shore of Lake George.
Starting this winter, the New York State Department of Transportation will implement a pilot winter road management program for 17 miles of Route 9N from Lake George Village through the Town of Bolton.
The brine application was evident ahead of a recent storm, see photo below.
For our winter residents and visitors, it means DOT is using different road management practices, which means different road conditions than seen in the past.
You need to be aware of the changes in road maintenance, be mindful of conditions, slow your speed, and be prepared for the potential longer driving time to get to your destination.
A check of your snow tires wouldn’t hurt, either.
This is the kind of project and inventive thinking that the LGA was encouraging back in April 2013 when we and our partners hosted the first Municipal De-Icing Best Practices Forum in Lake George with local Highway Superintendents and crews. We’re happy to see this pilot program begin!
Essentially, the state DOT, which maintains Route 9N in the Town of Lake George and the Town of Bolton, will use updated “best management practices” to reduce salt application rates on Route 9N while still “satisfying goals of maintaining safety on the road.”
The best management practices that DOT will implement as part of this pilot project include:
- Spreading brine on the roadways before a storm to pre-treat the roads to prevent ice from forming and bonding to the road;
- Using new segmented plow blades and other alternative blade technologies to mechanically remove as much snow and ice from the pavement as possible;
- Using treated salt, which is more effective at colder temperatures;
- Using Automatic Vehicle Location equipment that can track salt application rates, and regularly calibrate the salt spreading equipment;
- Closely monitoring salt use during storms while performing post-storm evaluations to review application rates and the performance of those rates; and
- Evaluating the need to cut back some tree canopies to allow the sun to better reach roadways in order to melt snow and ice.
State agencies will work with partners like your Lake George Association to monitor surface and groundwater quality in the pilot areas.
Additionally, the state plans to erect signs to alert motorists in the area where the pilot project is being performed.
Not part of the salt reduction pilot program, but an important factor nonetheless, is the paving work that was performed on Route 9N. New York DOT is repaving the roadway, creating a much smoother surface.
That smoother surface will make it easier for crews to keep the road clean of snow and ice, and will aid the segmented plows in their effort to scrape as much as possible on the first pass.
The state says at the close of the season, a review will be performed to determine the effectiveness of the testing, including on safety, and to consider the feasibility of expanding the salt reduction practice.