On June 30, I received a letter from James R. Campbell of Manassas. I put it into my "urgent" file.

But other topics seemed even more timely that day. And the next day as well. In a week, Campbell's letter was five inches deep in the "urgent" pile and sinking fast. Alas!

On July 6, staff writer Douglas B. Feaver reported that two of our busiest bridges need major reconstruction.

The woodrow Wilson Bridge and the Cabin John Bridge must undergo major repairs, and thousands of motorist will have to learn to live with delays. Most of the $50 million in damage is attributed to salt -- the thing James Campbell wrote about.

"Salt," he had written, "destroys cars, highways and bridges, and is a pollutant dangerous to public health.

"Look in any parking lot and you will see nearly new cars with signs of advanced rust. Not readily visible but present nevertheless is damage to wheels, brakes, steering, suspension and other components.

"Highway potholes are caused by salt, and we are all aware of the dangerous condition of the Potomac River bridges. Salt also pollutes our supplies of fresh water. Rain doesn't wash away salt, it merely causes the salt to run off into our drinking water.

"If you should suffer a stroke due to high blood pressure, your wife can thank your local highway department for giving her the opportunity to enjoy your insurance money. Why aren't highway departments required to file an environmental impact statement before they dump all that salt on our highways and cost us billions of dollars for repairs and rebuilding?"

Bravo! We could use road scrapers, then put down ashes, sand or gravel. Autos equipped with snow tires would get through just fine.