State senator asks for alternative to current road deicer; public hearing Friday a.m.

State Senator Jason Welch (R-Bristol, Plainville, Plymouth, Harwinton, Thomaston) is asking the state’s Transportation Committee leaders to find a way to reduce the state’s use of magnesium chloride, as a deicer on Connecticut’s roads, according to a press release from his office.

“Constituents are very upset that this chemical is causing their car brake-lines to corrode and that it may be contributing to the breakdown of materials used in the construction of our bridges,” said Welch in his press release.

Welch sent a letter to the leaders of the committee in the hopes they would develop a plan to reduce the use of the chemical on state roads. The issue will be the focus of a public hearing scheduled to take place Friday, Feb. 28 at the LegislativeOfficeBuilding in Hartford at 10 a.m. in room 2B.

In the release, Welch said he is encouraging constituents who would like to discuss their experiences to come and speak before the transportation committee.

Welch said in the release, “This is a good opportunity to tell lawmakers what is happening so they can make sound deliberations on whether to continue the use of this product.”

Welch’s release reported trucking industry officials note the magnesium chloride can rust out undercarriages faster than other chemicals the state has used in the past. They are urging the state to add rust inhibitors to the saltwater mix that is currently being put on the roadways. Mechanics say they are replacing brake lines sooner on vehicles.

A report done by the Office of Legislative Research, points to changes in car manufacturing, as well as the use of chemicals on roads in their reasoning behind corrosion to cars, said the release from Welch’s office. The state says washing a car is the best way to prevent corrosion, according to Welch’s press release.

Welch’s office also said the report says Connecticut had experimented with anti-corrosive chemicals but abandoned them in 2007 because of environmental concerns. The anti-corrosive agents can lower oxygen levels in streams — potentially harming fish because the anti-corrosives get rid of oxygen so rust can’t form, the release said.

The state uses about 1 million gallons of the magnesium chloride salt mix each year, the release reported. The Department of Transportation suggested adding a rust inhibitor would cost 10 cents to 20 cents more per gallon or between $100,000 and $200,000 annually. Before calcium chloride was used to treat roads– the state used a mixture of salt and sand after a snow storm, reported Welch’s office.

Anyone interested in testifying before the Transportation Committee can send testimony to  Transportation Committee clerk and cc: Sen. Welch at Please put Magnesium Chloride in the subject line.