Great Falls Tribune: U.S. Air Force ‘reconsiders’ chemical use on rural Montana roads

Malmstrom’s new wing commander, Col. Heraldo Brual, told Sen. Jon Tester the Air Force would “reconsider” using calcium chloride on road stabilization projects in and around missile fields, but residents in central Montana are still not happy with the condition of many county roads.

The Air Force is in the midst of a six-year, $7 million-a-year project to overhaul roads to missile sites in northcentral and central Montana. But residents who live along some of those defense access roads say the excessive use of calcium chloride — used to stabilize the newly-rebuilt gravel roadways — has created a sloppy, corrosive mess that is more than just an inconvenience.

Tester met with Brual on Friday to discuss rural Fergus County residents’ complaints.

“The Air Force has always been a good neighbor, and Montanans understand how important it is to keep these roads in top condition,” Tester, himself a third-generation farmer, said in a statement Monday. “But Montanans absolutely need to be able to work their land and travel our back roads without problems.”

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