Lake Placid, DOT set to discuss salt pilot program

A car drives alongside Mirror Lake in Lake Placid in November 2017. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

LAKE PLACID — The village Board of Trustees and the state Department of Transportation will meet Thursday to discuss a salt reduction pilot program between Lake Placid and Wilmington. The program will start at the intersection of state Route 86, go down Main Street near Mirror Lake and on the road along the West Branch of the AuSable River to Wilmington.

The DOT announced the program back in May along with another salt reduction initiative in the Lake George area, both of which are meant to lessen environmental impacts. Road salt can kill plants, harm animals and disturb ecosystems. A prime example is Mirror Lake, which because of road salt, isn’t turning over thus injuring plants and fish throughout the water. Road salt also has the potential to get into water supplies and increase a consumer’s blood pressure.

Normally, the state drops 100 percent road salt on roads in the winter, but the pilot program will include treated salt mixtures and salt brine (salt water) before storms. The DOT might also trim trees in shadier parts of the road so that sunlight can help in the melting process.

Village Mayor Craig Randall said he already noticed some trucks using salt brine along Route 86 as of last week.

Other than that, the DOT will use regular strategies such as GPS systems that track how much salt each truck in dropping a plows designed to push as much snow as possible to the side.

In a press release, state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “DEC is proud to work with the state Department of Transportation on these innovative pilot programs carefully designed to maintain public safety without compromising the Adirondack Park’s environmental treasures. These pilots will inform and improve public policy and bolster the way we work together to protect our communities and the fragile ecosystems critical to the overall health of our environment.”

Many properties and businesses around Mirror Lake have joined in the effort by reducing salt on their parking lots and walkways. The bar and restaurant Smoke Signals on Main Street has heated sidewalks, eliminating the need for salt.

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