Minnesota cities turning to brine to keep roads ice-free

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Cities across Minnesota are turning to spraying brine on roads to help keep them ice-free, with some saying it's better than salt.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has added brine sprayers to its fleet of 840 snowplows. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports Ramsey County almost tripled its salt-spraying capacity last winter.

Brooke Asleson manages programs to encourage salt spraying for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. She says spraying saltwater before a storm cuts the amount of salt on roads and reduces the amount of salt polluting rivers and lakes.

Brine-spraying trucks go out 24 to 48 hours before a storm. The trucks apply a thin coat of the salt mixture, which acts immediately on snow and ice and creates a barrier to prevent any new precipitation from sticking.