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Does Bozeman use salt on winter roads? City's transportation director says no

Snow Plows .jpg
Posted at 11:32 AM, Feb 21, 2024

BOZEMAN — A post on social media said the City of Bozeman has started to use salt to treat the roads when it snows. And as someone personally who has wondered why the city doesn't use salt on the roads, I found out that the answer still hasn't changed.

“So, the City of Bozeman does not use what is typically known as road salt on our roads. What we do is, we use a mixture of magnesium chloride and sand,” says Bozeman Transportation and Engineering Director Nick Ross.

The city says they go with a more environmentally friendly and low-cost option.

“Road salt is very damaging as a chemical to the environment, both the soils, the plants, as well as our water quality,” says Ross.

Most of the Treasure State does not use salt, but according to Bozeman's transportation director, the biggest misconception about their department in the winter isn’t the use of salt.

“The most common misconception we hear is that we don't plow our roads. We put in more than 35,000 miles worth of plowing, grading just last year,” says Ross.

Ross says that after last year’s winter, the city was able to purchase two more motor graters, but unfortunately the lack of snow hasn’t given them much action.

“Just from the ability to use Mother Nature to have the freeze-thaw cycles to reduce some of the buildup on the streets has been the biggest change,” says Ross.