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Calcium chloride to be used on roads again

  WALKER – Cass County will switch back from magnesium chloride to calcium chloride to treat gravel roads for the next three years, because calcium chloride bids for the next three years ran lower than magnesium chloride.

 The county originally shifted to magnesium chloride, because prices at that time had been escalating for calcium chloride. Univar offered the lower of two bids received this year.  

The new three-year contract also is lower than the county’s last three-year contract.

Cass buys about 750,000 gallons of chloride per year. Price this year will be $512,250, going up to $531,000 in 2012 and to $536,750 in 2013. The county paid $536,250 in 2008; $551,250 in 2009; and $566,250 in 2010. The county uses 450,000 gallons on county roads. Townships contract through the county to buy the balance.

 Cass applies liquid chloride each summer on gravel roads carrying 100 vehicles or more per day. About one-fourth of the county’s gravel roads qualify for treatment.

County Engineer David Enblom said the treatment saves personnel cost for blading out washboards and keeps fine particles in gravel from blowing off roads. The combined savings pays for the chloride, he said.

 Untreated roads lose an inch of gravel per year due to wind and traffic causing the gravel binder to blow off roads, he said.

 People living on the roads and drivers using them have responded favorably to the way chloride treatments prevents dust on treated roads, Enblom said. Drivers also appreciate that it takes longer for washboards to develop.

He said the county can obtain lower prices by bidding three years at a time. This allows the county’s suppliers to bid farther in advance to their suppliers and get lower pricing.

 The county board Tuesday authorized Enblom to advertise for bidders on 2011 road construction projects.   

They include resurfacing the southernmost mile of County State Aid Highway 44 southeast of Pine Rive, rebuilding and paving County Road 109 and portions of CSAH 1 in Home Brook and Fairview Townships southwest of Pine River, milling and resurfacing CSAH 1 in Pillager, resurfacing the west half of CSAH 6 (Lower Ten Mile Lake Road) northwest of Hackensack, reclaim and resurface CASH 7 from County Road 129 to Highway 6 east of Longville, and resurface CSAH 3 at the northeast corner of the county.