For the fourth straight year, Carroll County road crews are busy spraying area dirt roads with a calcium chloride solution in an effort to keep down dust, and residents who live on those unpaved roads are certainly clamoring for the treatment.
“Everybody who lives on a dirt road wants it, but there isn’t any way we can spray every dirt road in the county,” said Public Works Superintendent Charles Pope.
Typically, the county sprays roughly a fourth of the approximately 275 miles of dirt roads in Carroll County. While this practice is not necessarily an alternative to paving—during the warm weather months, the county is constantly in the process of paving and resurfacing areas that need it—it does much to keep dust down, which not only helps keep houses and cars along those thoroughfares clean but also provides cleaner air for residents who have lung or allergy problems.
The solution is nontoxic, which means it doesn’t damage the environment, hurt animals or affect the exterior of passing cars.
And while keeping dust down, the calcium chloride also maintains the stability of the roadbed, ensuring that crews don’t have to continually be addressing problem areas on those particular roads, which ultimately saves the taxpayer significant amounts of money.
Think about it like this. To pave a linear mile of road cost upwards of $150,000. Spraying the calcium chloride costs only a fraction of a percentage of that, and it is effective for close to a year, depending on weather and traffic. Heavily traveled dirt roads that don’t see the treatment require regular scraping. Treated roads don’t.
“It’s a great thing,” Pope said. “It just makes sense.”