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Home >Municipal Sand and Salt Building Program>Types of Sand/Salt Storage Buildings

Types of Sand/Salt Storage Buildings

Laminated Wood Arch Quonset Style

  • Features: Rectangular " footprint" with concrete retaining walls (typicially 6 to 10 feet high) and paved interior floor; preassembled laminated wood arches erected on site and connected to top of walls and sheathed with metal roof.
  • Many are built "into a hill" so that filling occurs on the backside by dumping through a rear door down into building. Winter operations occur through front door at floor level.
  • There are over 50 municipal buildings with this design and have been built from the late 80's to present. They are the most common style found in Maine.

This is a camara icon View Pictures of the Laminated Wood Arch Quonset Style Building

Metal Arch Quonset Style

  • Features: metal panel which usually come in a "kit" and are erected on concrete retaining walls. Arch support is derived strictly from metal panel gage and metal connections. The metal needs to be properly protected due to the corrosive salty environment.
  • There are 14 municipal metal arch buildings in Maine and most were built in the late 80's and early 90's. (Two building collapsed due to snow loading in March 2001)

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Dome Style

  • Features: typical concrete retaining wall with paved interior floor; asphalt shingles on preassembled wood panels.
  • There are about 35 municipal storage domes in Maine ranging from a capacity of 900 to 9,000 cubic yards. The majority were built in the early to mid 90's.

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Wood Frame Style

  • Features: "Stick-built" wood structures which typically have wood trusses for roof and are built on top of a standard concrete wall.
  • There are about 30 of these municipal buildings in Maine ranging from a capacity of 200 to 3,000 cubic yards.

This is a camara icon View Pictures of the Wood Frame Style Building

Fabric Building Style

  • With technology changing and construction materials improving, some communities have asked about the use of fabric-covered buildings to house and cover salt and/or sand/salt. These buildings come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and applications. Vendors promote their diverse uses, their portability, lower cost, ease of construction, and their durability.
  • Here are some other items to think about BEFORE purchasing a Fabric Style Building:

    1. Most Importantly....What is the TOTAL cost of this type of building (foundation, electrical, site prep, etc) compared to a conventional concrete and metal/wood building? Are the "upfront" savings (if any) worth it in the long run?
    2. Is this type of structure the best use of public funds which provides long term benefits?
    3. How are repairs made if a loader rips the fabric or hits a supporting tube strut? Will a "repair kit" be ok, or will the company have to fix it? Cost?
    4. How long is the warranty? What exactly does it cover?
    5. During a busy winter, can the structure survive the constant exposure to heavy equipment?
    6. What is the actual design life in your climactic conditions? What is the snow load design?
    7. Can it be designed large enough to cover your entire volume?
    8. What if heavy winds or snow damages (or destroys) the structure?
    9. Where is the local vendor for service and/or quick repairs?

This is a camara icon View Pictures of the Fabric Style Building


Other Building Information

  • The Maine DOT will not endorse or promote any particular design for municipal sand/salt facilities.

However, if a municipality decides to purchase this type of facility, the MaineDOT must be assured that any particular building meet all of the following criteria:

  • A registered Maine Professional Engineer (PE) or registered architect must certify that the building meets all applicable building and safety codes and is protecting the groundwater.
  • The building must ensure that the groundwater will be protected. The building must be enclosed so that precipitation does not have direct contact on the pile and that drainage around the building is positively directed away from the building.
  • Adequate interior ventilation must be ensured.
  • The building should provide long term coverage and that the durability of the building is adequate to endure extreme local weather conditions.
  • The MDOT can only provide financial assistance to a municipality once. If the facility fails after a year or even 15 years, then the municipality is responsible for the full costs of repairs.


This page last updated on 5/29/14