Salt mines

The salt that goes on to roads is called Rocksalt. This is found deep under the ground in the North West and North East of England. The pictures show the Salt Union mine in Winsford, Cheshire.

On the surface at the salt mines

Photo of car on snow covered road

Salt has been produced in Cheshire since Roman times. Winsford salt mine started in 1844 and is now the only dedicated salt mine in the UK. The building covers one of the mine shafts which reach 150 metres underground. Massive caves are connected by a road network of over 160km underneath the Cheshire countryside. Laid end-to-end these underground roads would stretch from Liverpool to Birmingham.

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Deep underground

Photo of car on road cleared of snow.

Rock salt is scoured from caverns deep underground by this 126 tonne monster machine. It can chew out 15metres of solid rock and produce 600 tonnes of salt in an hour. That's the same weight as 82 double-decker buses.

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Huge piles of salt

Photo of salt bin.

The salt is brought to the surface and stored before lorries take it to the customer. The Winsford mine can supply over 2 million tonnes of rock salt a year to keep roads free from ice in bad weather.

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Photo of salt bin.

So the rock salt is spread on roads to stop cars from skidding.

I can see how the grit would give the road more grip, but how does the salt help?

 

Let's find out .