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Winter salt arrives

Monday saw a vital arrival on the Portage Canal. The 650-foot dry bulk carrier Algoma Innovator brought in the first load of winter salt for the Western Upper Peninsula, dropping it off in Hancock. Kevin Harju of the Houghton County Road Commission says the vessel brought in about 12,000 tons and another shipment is expected by the end of the week.

From there it is distributed between Gogebic, Ontonagon, Houghton, Baraga, and Keweenaw Counties. Harju says Houghton doesn’t get a lot of it because what is laid down on local roads is mostly sand.

We mix it between three and five percent salt. Just enough to help the sand stick to the road surface.

A small amount of pure salt is held aside for the potential of ice storms. The Houghton County Road Commission stores most of its supply in Ripley on M-26. Some is kept in Calumet and other facilities throughout the county.

In the coming weeks, you’ll see the solution be blended together.

We mix the sand salt mixture as we’re stockpiling sand. So, in Ripley right now we have a conveyor and it gets blended as the sand is hauled, so the pile is blended throughout.

It will then lie waiting for the flakes to fly. Michigan Tech’s Facebook page has photos.

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