Know Snow: Clearing the roads

Know Snow: Clearing the roads

November 15, 2013

We’ve been blogging about #KnowSnow all week long, but we knew we couldn’t wrap things up without sharing this video…

If you’re a long-time reader, it might seem familiar. We originally posted it on the blog two years ago (time flies!). It does such a good job of showcasing ADOT’s winter storm management efforts that we thought it’d be worth a replay.

You can see that a portion of the video focuses on deicers and since we didn’t really call attention to them in this original 2011 blog post, we wanted to take time today to explain how ADOT uses these materials.

Deicing Agents

ADOT is fully stocked with deicing agents and ready for the winter season that’s upon us. These materials include a liquid magnesium chloride and a granular product called Ice Slicer.

Magnesium chloride is a naturally occurring salt mineral – this liquid is commonly used ahead of a storm.

Ice Slicer is a naturally occurring complex chloride which consists of sodium, magnesium, potassium and calcium chlorides. Ice Slicer does melt the snow and ice, but it is mainly used to prevent the bond between ice and the road. This is important, because if the snow and ice don’t freeze to the road, they can be more easily plowed off the highway.

ADOT Flagstaff District Maintenance Engineer Chuck Gillick does a better job of explaining it in the video above.

“We load it into our plow trucks and spread it on the highway. What salt really does is change the freezing point of the snow,” says Gillick. “We try to use it so (the snow and ice) doesn’t bond with the roadway surface. It tends to lower that freezing point and makes (the snow) liquid for a longer period of time and that helps us get it off the road quicker.”

For more on ADOT’s winter storm management efforts, visit our “Know Snow” Web page.