With winter weather in the forecast, Knox County Engineering & Public Works began pretreating roadways with salt brine yesterday evening.


Salt brine is a liquid mixture of salt and water that is applied to roadways to stop snow from sticking to pavements. The brine system allows Knox County’s Highway Department to pre-treat 1,392 lane miles of primary and secondary roads, and other known trouble spots, ahead of a winter storm.


Knox County has approximately 4,500 tons of road salt, 30,000 gallons of salt brine and 5,000 gallons of calcium chloride in storage and ready to use.


The Highway Department can equip up to 14 trucks with brine spreaders, which can be switched out with equipment to spread granular road salt. Knox County has 17 snow plows that can be attached to dump trucks as needed. Depending on the severity of the weather, the county also has 17 four-wheel-drive trucks that can be equipped with smaller snow plows for use on more narrow roads.


Prior to and during any winter precipitation, the on-call supervisors monitor road conditions in the county and communicate with authorities to determine necessary precautions.


During winter storms, residents should stay off the roads whenever possible until crews have cleared the snow. Workers will start clearing main thoroughfares and known problem areas first before moving on to complaints and secondary roads.