By Julie Watts


SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — As the winter storm continues, so do Caltrans crews who are hard at work treating and clearing snow-covered roads.

But now there are concerns about the salt used to de-ice roads that range from damage to your vehicle and local bridges to water pollution and damage to trees. A Caltrans study found 15% of trees along the Tahoe basin highways were salt-affected.

The agency has since reduced using salt crystals, which are less effective because they can bounce off the road, and are more likely to damage the environment. Now they use a sand-salt mixture and pre-treat roads with a mixture of water and salt that prevents freezing.

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Brine is more effective and less harmful to the environment because it sticks to the road, but the corrosive solution is also more likely to stick to your car and cause damage.

If you’re driving on treated roads, mechanics say you should wash the undercarriage of your car as soon as possible and avoid parking in a warm garage which can speed up corrosion.

Placer County says they are still predominately using a sand-salt mixture and just started testing out the brine in the Tahoe City area.

Agencies have also recently been encouraged to use less sand to avoid sediment build-up in the lake.

Julie Watts

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