Steel Salt Storage Buildings are on the Rise

State transportation officials were busy preparing for the 2010 winter season with the expected heavy snowfalls and freezing temperatures, a situation dubbed “snowmageddon” by those living on the East Coast.

Salt is in high demand for these transportation officials as it is used to keep the roads passable for travelers during the winter months. In fact, in 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency reported that approximately 11 million tons of salt are used on roadways throughout the U.S. every winter.

The salt is effective for two reasons. First, it helps prevent ice from forming in the first place as salt water freezes at a lower temperature than pure water. Second, the salt bits can help break up ice that has already formed. When a car or truck drives over the salt bits, the weight of the vehicle pushes them downward and backward. These physical forces crack and shatter the ice. The friction also melts the ice and snow, allowing more of the salt to dissolve.

In the past, highway departments stockpiled salt outdoors during the winter months. In recent years, environmentalists and scientists have determined that when a salt pile gets wet, the run-off finds its way into nearby streams and lakes or seeps into groundwater supplies. Because of this, salt must now be stockpiled indoors in industrial storage units.

For the Abbruzzese Brothers—a landscape management company in Hilliard, Ohio—and the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the need for a salt storage unit led them to SteelMaster Buildings, a provider of steel buildings and roofing systems located in Virginia Beach, VA.

Their decision to use a steel building to store their salt was based on many factors. Steel does not rot, warp, shrink, or split, and it’s non-combustible. Steel is also easier to handle, stronger, and less expensive than any other common building material and weighs up to 60 percent less than wood members, which allows for easier transport and assembly.

Although salt is an extremely corrosive material, steel buildings manufactured by SteelMaster offer 100 percent usable space with a clear span arch design that eliminates beams and trusses, thus allowing for enough room to store a large, high pile of salt. The use of a stem wall foundation provides a raised platform for the walls, which helps create even more space for the salt, keeping it away from coming in contact with the steel structure. Flashing and gussets are also used to prevent the passage of water into the steel structure from any angle—an important component to help ensure that the salt stays dry, as dry salt is not nearly as corrosive as wet salt.

Anthony Moore and his brother Wayne own A& W Leasing Corporation in McKenzie, TN and have seven years experience utilizing SteelMaster steel buildings for salt storage through contracts awarded to them by the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT).

In 2003, they bought six SteelMaster buildings for TDOT and built them themselves, a process Anthony says was not difficult at all. “SteelMaster buildings are priced right, made of top-quality steel, and are easy to construct,” says Anthony. “Since we began building salt storage buildings for TDOT in 2003, we have put up eight SteelMaster buildings altogether for that purpose. Each building stores 2,200 tons of salt, and there is plenty of room for the dump trucks and front end loaders to get in there to dump the salt. I had a person from Pennsylvania call me back in August who was interested in buying a SteelMaster for the same purpose and wanted me to share my experiences with the buildings. I told him that we are very pleased with our eight salt storage units, as are the people at TDOT.”

Steel structures for salt storage are becoming even more popular due the recent problems with other types of structures. Recently, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced that 112 of their 146 salt storage structures must be repaired or replaced. The Beaver County Times reported that the steel-framed, engineered fabric building vendor that sold the structures to PennDOT advised that their buildings so not be used during severe weather including snow, sleet and high winds, all common weather elements for Pennsylvania during the winter. The Harrisonburg Patriot News reported that PennDOT would be tearing down and replacing the 112 storage structures because they may be in danger of collapsing.

As opposed to wooden structures, SteelMaster’s steel buildings in particular remain maintenance free for a lifetime thanks to the company’s use of Galvalume Plus Coating which offers strength, superior corrosion resistance, and an attractive bright appearance that provides excellent heat reflectivity. Each SteelMaster building also comes with a 30-year mill-backed warranty by ArcelorMittal (NYSE MT). A SteelMaster building’s strength also resists fire, earthquake, and hurricane damage.

In the spring of 2010, SteelMaster launched its new models that are stronger, better, and cost less than anything else on the market. With these new models, customers benefit from a stronger design that allows for the buildings to withstand higher wind and snow loads in a lower gauge, which allows for significant cost savings.

With thousands of satisfied customers, including buildings located in every state in the U.S., on six continents, and in more than 40 overseas countries, SteelMaster takes pride in knowing its steel buildings have earned the favor of not only the Abbruzzese Brothers and the Tennessee Department of Transportation, but also the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, National Guard, Coast Guard, Departments of Corrections, Transportation and Defense, FBI, Public Works, DEA, and the Army Corps of Engineers.

In addition to structures for government and military purposes, SteelMaster’s steel and metal pre-engineered buildings are designed for a broad range of residential and commercial applications including Garages, Workshops, Carports, Quonsets, Airplane Hangars, RV Storage, Commercial Warehousing, and Industrial Storage as well as a wide variety of Custom Building applications including Athletic Facilities, Retail Stores, Churches, Bus Stops, Smoke Shacks, Doggie Dorms, and Correctional Facilities.

– written by Brenda Welch
(Brenda is a freelance writer and editor living in Hampton Roads, VA)

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