HERKIMER, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) has announced new snow and ice pilot program to keep Mohawk Valley residents safe this winter. NYSDOT says this year they are switching to a liquid-only operation that will utilize salt brine to coat the roadway in place of granular salt before it snows.

According to NYSDOT, this treatment will be used for storm preparations as well as during winter weather events. The switch was made in order to reduce the impacts of salt on this route without reducing the level of service or jeopardizing safety.

“This approach also addresses environmental infrastructure preservation and fiscal concerns. that said our plows will still be out in full force and service will not be impacted dot will still live up to its legally required obligation to keep roads safe. but how we maintain this stretch will be different,” said Chief of Staff Todd Westhuis.

NYSDOT said the program will focus on a 9.2 mile stretch of Route 5 in Herkimer County, beginning at the Oneida County line and stretching to the village of Ilion. This pilot is comparable to one that was launched during the 2020 -2021 snow and ice season on Route 9 and Route 32 in Saratoga County. The brine is dispensed through a spray bar mounted to a plow truck with a large brine tank instead of a salt hopper.