In an effort to make the roads safer during the winter operations season and become more fiscally responsible the road commission is changing what and how we apply materials for ice control.
Much time has been spent researching the best and most cost effective products for ice control. We started by looking at how materials are applied, how much and where. We then looked at our products and what we put on the roads to help with ice control. After trying different products through the years we believe we have come up with the best way to apply the materials and what the best materials are.
Our standard material was sand and salt. It was mixed at a three to one ratio. Standard salt can only melt snow and ice at temperatures of 15 degrees and above. The sand also has some drawbacks because it has to be cleaned up after winter is over. It settles inside of the culverts and catch basins slowing the flow of storm water and even plugging them up. It has to be swept off the intersections and the cleanup process is costly. The sand is not free. We have the cost of mining the material or it has to be purchased.
We knew we could be more effective and environmentally friendly if we worked to reduce the sand part of our mix. After all the research and review of our current practice we knew we could make the roads safer, control cost, and be more environmentally friendly by changing the process. The first step was to calibrate the salt spreaders on every truck. The calibration sets the maximum number of pounds per mile and allows the operator the flexibility to dial back from the max setting at their discretion. The second step was to remove the sand from our mixture. The sand was replaced with a liquid product called Boost. Boost is a liquid sprayed onto the salt and the two together can melt snow and ice down to -25 degrees. As the salt dissolves it forms brine and the boost starts this process immediately thus melting the ice faster. The brine stays on the road better than untreated salt. Salt can be swept off the road by the breeze from our cars and trucks.
As we move forward with our new process we recently designed a new spray system to apply the boost to the bulk salt inside our storage barn. We inspected the routes after the product has been applied. The results have been very successful. With this new system we will save time, money and it’s better for the environment.