Frisco says no to mag chloride | SummitDaily.com
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Frisco says no to mag chloride

FRISCO – Frisco officials agreed Tuesday to end the town’s use of magnesium chloride on the town’s paved streets.

“We’re going to do away with mag chloride, and the chief of police is going to teach driving lessons,” Frisco Mayor Bob Moscatelli said and laughed.

Mag chloride has been a subject of much debate – both for its potential negative impacts on the environment and waterways and its corrosive effects on vehicles. Because of the controversy surrounding the use of the chemical, Frisco officials discussed whether or not to discontinue its use within the town limits.



The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), which maintains Summit Boulevard and Highway 9 to Breckenridge in the winter, doesn’t use mag chloride on either stretch of road, said Tim Mack, director of Frisco Public Works.

In the winter, Frisco uses mag chloride in the town’s core – and has been doing so for about six years – primarily on Main Street, he said.



“We went to mag (chloride) because of the environmental concern of the sand-salt mixture,” Mack said, adding that sand also has an environmental impact because it contributes to air pollution. “I don’t know what the lesser of the evils is.”

Reducing or discontinuing the use of mag chloride would mean upping the town’s dependence on salt and sand, he said.

The ideal solution – from an environmental perspective – would be to limit the use of both mag chloride and salt and sand during snow removal, said Frisco Councilmember Jon Zdechlik.

“We live in snow country,” Zdechlik said, adding that drivers should slow down.

According to town officials, CDOT prefers mag chloride because it saves more lives by keeping roads dry. But the maximum speed in Frisco is 35 or 45 mph, said Councilmember David Amli, which likely isn’t fast enough to be life-threatening.

In the end, mag chloride opponents won out. Council members agreed the town will discontinue the use of mag chloride in the winter. They also will attempt not to use more salt and sand in its place, and drivers will need to slow down.

“Let the public know that we’re doing away with this for environmental reasons,” Councilmember Bernie Zurbriggen said. “It’s going to require citizens to be alert and drive more cautiously.”

Frisco will continue to use mag chloride in the summer to control dust on non-paved roads, Mack said.

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Lu Snyder can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or lsnyder@summitdaily.com.


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