MassDOT asks communities to avoid salt near rail crossings

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The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is asking cities and towns to avoid applying road salt this winter at commuter “railway/highway” crossings.
In a letter sent last month to cities and towns with such crossings, MassDOT said road salt can cause the train approach warning system to activate without the presence of a train.
Salt mixed with fresh or melting snow can make a conductive solution that creates a short circuit on the tracks, causing gates to lower, lights to flash and bells to ring as if a train were approaching. This can cause delays for trains as well as traffic, and takes time to correct.
The letter asks municipalities and public works departments to remind crews and contractors not to use salt near tracks. Each letter included a list of highway/railway crossings in that community.
For more information, contact Derek Weldon, assistant chief of engineering operations, at (617) 222-8145 or