Environmental Problems Related to Winter Traffic Safety Conditions

Maire-Liis Hääl, Peep Sürje


The changeable Nordic climate has added problems to road maintenance and the environment to ensure traffic safety under winter conditions. The widespread use of salt (NaCl) for snow and ice removal from roads has resulted in environmental impacts in many areas. Some of the problems associated with the use of NaCl are the corrosion of bridges, road surfaces and vehicles and damage to roadside vegetation and aquatic system that are affected by water from de-iced roads. Accumulation of hard metals (Pb, Cd, Ni, Zn, Cu, Co) hazardous to the environment in areas near the road has been determined. The growth of zinc concentration in soil was accompanied by an increase in cadmium. Negative effects of studded tyres on road surfacing have brought about a higher environmental risk. Resistance to the use of salt for de-icing is strong in many countries. This forces pertinent institutions to draft normative documents and requirements that would optimise the need of NaCl.


traffic; road maintenance; studded tyres; chlorides; heavy metals; soil and groundwater contamination

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