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Ada County Highway District adding blue dye to road salt

After last winter, snow plows spreading a layer of salt across snow and ice-covered roadways is a familiar site for most. (KBOI Staff Photo)

While we're only a few days into autumn road crews are already gearing up for winter.

If you drive past the Ada County Highway District on Cloverdale Road you may be a bit surprised when you see large piles of brightly colored salt, it's something new they're doing this year.

After last winter, snow plows spreading a layer of salt across snow and ice-covered roadways is a familiar site for most.

This year, it's going to look a little different for Ada County residents.

"This year we've added a food grade dye to our salt," said Nicole DuBois, public information specialist for Ada County Highway District.

A bright blue dye is now being added to incoming shipments of salt at the new Ada County Highway Districts storage facility on Cloverdale.

"It's going to enable our operators to see areas that have already been salted so we're not re-salting an area that doesn't need it. It's going to allow them to see their spread patterns so they can adjust it if they need to within the width of the roadway, and it will also let the public know the areas that have been salted as well," DuBois said.

The liquid dye is added by a sprayer at the top of a conveyor belt used to pile salt.

But road bosses say, don't worry about it hitting your car.

DuBois says, "Because it is a food grade dye and it's non-staining, it should wash off."

The new structure is large enough to store 6,000 tons of salt.

Last winter, the county went through 4,500 tons of salt on the roadways.

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