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North Dakota Department of Transportation to use less sand on the roads

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GRAND FORKS, ND (WDAZ)--Cutting back on treating the roads to save money.

That's the plan for North Dakota Department of Transportation.

For years, salt and sand have been two main components to clear the roads but now the department is saying that more of one might be better than the other.

“It's been warm, it's been cold, and when it gets warm, it gets icy,” said Driver, William Peters.

For years the North Dakota Department of Transportation has been searching for the right ratio of salt to sand to help clear roads.

“Sand doesn't do anything for cutting ice or preventing it which salt does,” said Les Noehre.

“Sand after a few cars just goes over it just disappears it doesn't seem to be as effective,” said Peters.

The cost of sand in the Grand Forks area is $5,000 a year--that’s down from $40,000 a decade ago.  

“All of that sand that we were putting on the road ended up in the ditches as well and on the bridge decks so using less sand means that we're putting less sand into the environment,” said Noehre.

While salt will be the more dominate material used--sand will in fact still have its purpose on the roads.

The Department of Transportation says sand will be used on intersections and state highways also if the temperatures are 18 below they will also use it then on roads.

“We do still use sand in specific occasions and specific times,” said Noehre.

“Winter is only halfway through there's more to come I'm sure,” said Peters.

The Department of Transportation also says the ratio to salt to sand will be 80 to 20.