WASHINGTON – A new report found that the Minnesota Dept. of Transportation (MNDOT) was able to significantly cut its snow removal costs during the 2010 and 2011 winter season, saving an estimated $2.2 million in salt costs, via driver training, liquid brine, and plow calibration technology.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO’s) Center for Environmental Excellence’s report, called Leaner and Greener: Sustainability at Work in Transportation, covered the transportation-related achievements of a number of different government entities, including MNDOT.

During the 2010 – 2011 snow season, Minnesota saw the third highest snowfall recorded in the state in 40 years, according to the report, but MNDOT only had to use 25% more salt than normal. The key programs in place at MNDOT that resulted in less use of salt included “Salt Solutions,” where snow plow drivers received training via virtual snow plow cabs. During this training, they learned how to use de-icers efficiently. MNDOT also found that applying liquid brine in advance of a storm to protect roads against ice was effective in reducing the amount of salt required during the snow season.

MNDOT also used calibration technology to ensure the snow plows dispense materials efficiently and effectively. On roads, MnDOT used roadway sensors that detect hazardous conditions that could slow down or potentially stop snow removal efforts.

"At MNDOT we're committed to using innovative practices like living snow fences which are made of grasses, scrubs, and trees to control blowing and drifting snow and virtual training for snow plow drivers, to keep Minnesota roads safe, costs low, and the environment protected," said Bernie Arseneau, MNDOT Acting Commissioner.