Truckers want Connecticut to change deicing chemical

A group representing trucking companies is asking Connecticut lawmakers to ban an ice-melting chemical the state currently uses on its roads, saying it's too corrosive and poses a safety hazard for trucks.

The Motor Transport Assn. of Connecticut said legislators should make deicers like magnesium chloride — which the state now uses to treat roads before and during winter storms — illegal.

Association President Michael Riley told the Republican-American of Waterbury that the chemical is corroding trucks at an unprecedented rate and officials should also be worried about it affecting concrete and bridge metal.

Previously, the state used a salt and dirt mixture — which is less corrosive to vehicles — to clear snow and ice off the roads. Truckers have been questioning the state’s switch to using a salt and magnesium chloride mixture, which truckers contend is unsafe for vehicles, road surfaces, bridges and the environment.

The use of magnesium chloride to clear roads has been a bone of contention among truckers for years due to the corrosive effects the chemical has on vehicles, particularly on braking systems.

An American Trucking Assns. Foundation survey published in 2002 showed that 72% of Colorado trucking companies reported increased wear on their equipment since the state’s DOT started using magnesium chloride.

The effects of magnesium chloride is believed to be seen on metals of all kinds, on wheels, rims, trailer landing gear parts and suspension parts, hoses and connectors, electrical wiring, frames, and fuel-tank straps, according to a Trailer Body Builders report. The specific type of damage mentioned in the Colorado survey most often included corrosion, pitting, staining/tarnishing, discoloration, drying/cracking, and accelerated rust.

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