Slick Operation

Slick Operation

Shutterstock | Stephen Barnes

The Maine Department of Transportation is responsible for snow removal on just 18 percent of roads in the state — county and local governments handle most of the rest — but their salting stats are mind-melting.


Average annual tons of salt put down by MDOT over the past five years. About 2.5 times more weight than last year’s lobster catch.


Gallons of a liquid concentrate containing molasses (and magnesium chloride and agricultural byproduct) mixed with one ton of salt. Not recommended for baking, although it does help salt better adhere to roads.


Starting hourly wage for MDOT plow drivers. The pay scale maxes out at $19.01 per hour. The state experienced driver shortages the past two winters.


Labor hours dedicated last year to snow and ice control. That’s 79 years’ worth of 10-hour workdays for one person.


The usual speed of a salt truck, in miles per hour — they go slightly faster on highways, but always much slower than you want to go.


Typical number of miles a truck loaded with 10 tons of salt can run before needing a refill. That means a truck could drive halfway from Portland to Augusta before turning around and hitting the other side of I-295 on the return.

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