Duration: 2007 - 2011

In response to changing regulations and increasing environmental concerns related to salt application on roads, the Norwegian Public Road Administration (NPRA) initiated a four year research and development project, entitled: "Salt SMART".

The motivation for the project is the increasing focus on the negative environmental effects related to the use of salt (sodium chloride) on roads in wintertime. Excessive salt concentrations have been measured in different Norwegian groundwater sources and the insufficient oxygen levels measured in the bottom water layer of different Norwegian lakes has been shown to be directly related to elevated salt concentrations. Meanwhile, the amount of salt applied annually on Norwegian roads increased significantly in the past few years. Added to these concerns, a new EU Water Framework Directive is currently being implemented in Norwegian water management regulations. These regulations place pressure on the NPRA to control its discharges of salt (sodium chloride) into ground and surface water.

Salt application is an important measure to maintain road accessibility and traffic safety during wintertime. It prevents and removes ice deposition, hampers the compaction of snow and reduces the adhesion of snow on the road surface. The project has adopted the principle that road accessibility and traffic safety is to be ensured without unacceptable impact on the environment. This principle serves as a reference throughout the project.

The project’s primary objective is to promote a justifiable (responsible) use of salt for winter maintenance purposes.

The project is currently in the initial phase of defining its scope and tasks. The following preliminary tasks of the project are defined:

  • Provide a knowledge base for a justifiable use of salt in winter maintenance by collecting, systemising, and developing general knowledge and practices.
  • Identify vulnerable areas within Norway.
  • Investigate and develop alternative winter maintenance practices that ensure road accessibility and traffic safety in vulnerable areas.
  • Develop maintenance strategies to promote justifiable salt use for less vulnerable areas


Mr Åge Sivertsen
Norwegian Public Roads Administration
P.O. Box 8142 Dep.
N-0033 Oslo
Email:   age.sivertsen@vegvesen.no