Another snowstorm, another relatively tranquil period on Interstate 84 through Northeastern Oregon.

There are myriad factors, of course, that determine whether freeway traffic flows smoothly during inclement conditions or whether the main arterial through our region is closed for half a day.

But we don’t think it’s coincidental that freeway closures have been relatively infrequent and short-lived during this winter, when the Oregon Department of Transportation started spreading rock salt to melt snow and ice.

Neither does Tom Strandberg, ODOT’s spokesman in Eastern Oregon. Strandberg said ODOT crews used 97 tons of salt from Friday through Monday morning on the freeway between North Powder and Weatherby.

“It’s helping out quite a bit,” Strandberg said.

This winter hasn’t been nearly as snowy as last, of course. But Sunday night’s storm was the equal of any from last winter in terms of snowfall rates, with about eight inches of snow falling in about four hours.

Salt can’t prevent every closure, certainly. And it’s corrosive qualities are well-known. But as a tool it has proved its value, and ODOT should continue to employ it as necessary.

From the Baker City Herald editorial board. The board consists of editor Jayson Jacoby and reporter Chris Collins.

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