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Environmental Considerations in winter maintenance operations

José Carlos Valdecantos Álvarez       
Zone Center Delegate

Saul Aparicio Hill       
Director R & D + i.


The spread salt to prevent the presence of ice and snow on the road is still, today, more effective and economically feasible available to administrations and preservation solution. That said, the harmful effects of these operations on the environment (particularly water pollution and damage to ecosystems road margins) are well documented. This article aims to highlight practices and new technologies that can reduce discharges and excessive use of fluxes in winter maintenance operations.

Good practices can contribute decisively to the reduction of salt discharges, such as the installation of collection and recycling of brines that prevent conservation bases residual brines discharged to the environment. Or developing simple protocols spreaders calibrated to reduce the amount of salt that ends in the road margins.

That said, the greatest improvements we could get would be in the adoption of new technologies in conservation. The advances in weather forecasting high resolution have made computer systems support decision-making, such as MDSS, very reliable in assessing the effect of adverse weather conditions on the road and make recommendations for tools treatment to maintain a predefined service level. And the use of optical or laser systems calculation salinity promise to be a more elegant to the problem of detecting remaining salt solution than current technology widely present conductivity detection. This technology allow us to treat the road depending on the salinity had indeed present on the road instead of or be afraid to think.

The following article reviews some of these practices and technologies, to issue a series of recommendations for implementation.


Conservation, Winter Road, Environment, Flux, Brine, snowplow, decision making model, Weather Forecast.

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28001 - MADRID (Spain)
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