IDAHO TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT'S WINTER MAINTENANCE
FACTS ABOUT Anti-IcingWhy do workers spray liquid onto the roadways before a big storm arrives? If you live in Idaho, you've probably asked yourself that question. It may seem dangerous to add liquid to a road that might freeze, but that liquid can be your best friend when winter driving conditions are at their worst. That liquid can prevent snow from sticking to the road and prevent frost or black ice. It's one of the newest weapons against icy roads. Thanks to anti-icing, winter driving can be a safer experience. The following commonly-asked questions and answers will help you learn more about liquid anti-icing and the benefits it can offer motorists.
WHAT IS Anti-Icing?Liquid anti-icers work like anti-freeze by lowering the freezing temperature of water and preventing ice from forming a strong bond to the road. They help keep roads from becoming slick, improve safety and reduce accidents.
IS IT SAFE?Anti-icing liquids are less toxic than baking soda or salt. Unlike sand, it won't crack your windshield or chip your cars paint. Tests have shown that the proper application of anti-icing liquids produces no negative effects on ground water, surface water or vegetation.
WHAT CAN I DO IF I DRIVE ON ROADS WHERE Anti-Icing LIQUIDS ARE USED?Wash your car on a regular basis. Anti-icing liquids (along with slush and dirt from the roads) can splash onto your car and build up after time, leaving a filmy residue on your car. Make car washing part of your regular maintenance routine, and you'll help keep residue from the winter roads off of your car.
WHY NOT USE SAND?In many cases anti-icing liquids work better than sand. They keeps snow from firmly sticking to the pavement. Anti-Icing liquids also last longer than sand and works in a broader range of conditions. Sand can be crushed by traffic and produce airborne dust, which contributes to pollution. Because sand is easily blown off the road by traffic, it requires repeated applications.
HOW ARE Anti-Icing LIQUIDS USED?Anti-icing: A light application of the liquid is made to a road before a storm to prevent a hard bond of ice, reduce snow buildup and speed snow and ice breakup after the storm.
De-icing: The liquid is applied to remove a thin layer of snowpack or ice already on the road. It can be very effective for melting black ice and freezing rain.
Pre-wetting: Wetting traditional sanding material with anti-Icing causes sand to stick to snowpack better. Keeping sand on the road is nearly impossible in some circumstances, especially in very cold weather and in cases where there's traffic at highway speeds. Anti-Icing liquids can keep the sand from blowing to the shoulder of the road.
WHAT ABOUT THE COST?Anti-icing liquids are usually the most cost-effective alternative when considering the whole picture. There are less expensive chemicals to use for snow and ice control, such as salt and other ice melting chemicals. But those alternatives can be harmful to vehicles, bridges and the environment.
Anti-icing liquids are a good alternative because they are less corrosive and work better than other chemicals. They reduce environmental impact, bridge corrosion and vehicle damage.
In the last few years Idaho has worked with Montana, Washington, Oregon, Colorado and British Columbia to develop higher standards for a winter maintenance chemicals. The goal among the six transportation regions is to use a winter maintenance chemical that is appropriate for our environment and less corrosive than other alternatives.
For more information, contact Steve Spoor, Winter Maintenance Coordinator, at 334-8413.