Project summary: Salt storage for road maintenance

A company that manages 157 miles of roadway in the Midwest utilizes eleven salt storage facilities, each holding the amount of salt needed for a season’s worth of winter weather on a specific stretch of highway.

But just like salt breaks down ice, it also deteriorates wood, and in 2019, some of these existing wooden salt-storage domes were past their prime.

“When faced with replacing these domes, the choice to go with concrete structures was all about longevity,” said the company’s civil infrastructure manager. The leadership team was looking to reduce lifecycle maintenance costs; both its wooden salt domes and rectangular storage facilities with concrete walls and tarp roofs require regular upkeep.

salt storage dome

Company management decided on steel-reinforced concrete domes from Dome Technology for their salt storage. “Looking at the numbers, it was more economical over the next 60 years going with domes, partly to reduce upkeep and partly because concrete domes would work well if automation like buckets or conveyors were added later,” the manager said. As a former employee with reclaim-expert Laidig, he had seen conveyance systems work seamlessly with Dome Technology structures.

elliptical salt storage dome

Dome Technology built two elliptical salt-storage domes, each standing 90 feet by 120 feet across and 35 feet tall. Maintenance managers determined the 3,500-ton capacity for each of the domes based on the estimated amount of salt needed to service roads in those areas.

salt storage

For optimal accessibility, the domes feature a rectangular entry with three truck bays measuring 20 feet wide and 20 feet tall, and front-end loader facilitates loading and reclaim.

Inside each dome, salt is piled against the wall, clearing up floor space for reclaim. Piling product in this way makes the dome an ideal option as the reinforced-concrete dome is monolithic; no joints or beams form the roof, so forces from stored product are easily tolerated and spread across the shell.