TICONDEROGA - The Ticonderoga highway department is hoping for some winter magic.
That's magic, as in Magic Salt.
Arthur "Pat" Morrison, Ti highway superintendent, said the town will begin a test of the substance on local roads this week.
Magic Salt, magnesium chloride, is an ice melting product. According to the manufacturer, snow will "burn off" with no plowing. It works faster and lasts longer, saving as much as 50 percent in salt use, the manufacturer claims, and is environmentally friendly.
"It is supposed to cut your salt consumption 30-40 percent," Morrison said. "It adds $9.52 a ton to the salt, but with a savings of 30-40 percent it's at least worth a try. It also is supposed to take the working temperature of salt down to minus 30 degrees."
The magnesium chloride spray was tested for the first time in the Capital Region last January. State road crews applied the treatment prior to several snowstorms, on Route 9 near Schenectady.
"The preliminary results were satisfactory, and it performed as advertised, if you will. We see this as a bigger help early in the season, but we do intend to continue with the operation," said Robert Selover, associate director for the state Department of Transportation's maintenance division.
Morrison said the Ticonderoga test will consist of 4,000 gallons of Magic Salt.
The material is added to existing salt supplies, he explained, and no new equipment is needed.
Magic Salt starts out as ordinary rock salt, which is then treated with a liquid, agricultural by-product. It is distilled and blended with magnesium chloride.
The material is applied to bulk rock salt stockpiles, making it more efficient in clearing roadways, according to the manufacturer.