Loudon Road Department using cinder to clean roads this winter

MONA NAIR-6 News Reporter

LOUDON (WATE) Loudon County Road Department officials say they're ready for winter, armed with a new weapon.

They'll be using mostly cinder to keep their roads safe this winter. They say mixing cinder with salt does the job just as well, and it's a whole lot cheaper.

"We cover 700 miles of county roads and subdivisions," said plow truck driver Vernon Jenkins, as he drove the 6 News crew around some of the roads he covers.

He says last winter was a long one for him. His team dealt with tons of snow, combined with a low budget, and a really short salt supply. "It was hard because it got so scarce. You put your name in the hat and hoped you'd get all the salt you needed," explained Road Commissioner Eddie Simpson.

After resources got tight last year, he decided to try something new, mixing cinder with the salt. The 40% salt-60% cinder mix worked so well last year, they plan to use it right from the start this winter.

"It melts just as fast as pure salt in my opinion," explained Simpson.

In addition to stretching their supplies, Simpson has made sure they have more money set aside for winter clean-up.

Ultimately, they say it's about being thrifty while staying safe. "We don't want any accidents out there," Jenkins said.

Last year Loudon County budgeted only $10,000 for salt and ended up spending $60,000. This year they've set aside $30,000. If they don't use it, it'll go towards other road projects.