Fleet Management

Wisconsin Counties Trying New Winter Tactics

January 13, 1999

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This winter, 12 Wisconsin counties are trying new ways to keep roads from icing.

It’s part of a state Department of Transportation effort to try cheaper and more effective ways to keep ice off the roads, reports the Associated Press.
One of those new ways is using a liquid that is a waste product from making canned corn. The liquid is harder to freeze than water, and can slow down the formation of ice if it is sprayed onto roads before a storm. The liquid and another chemical, magnesium chloride, have already been used with mixed results on an 8-mile stretch of highway in Douglas County in northwestern Wisconsin. The materials do their job when the temperature is around freezing, but don'’ work as well when it dips below freezing.
Another experimental method is a bridge that melts ice almost by itself, on Interstate 43 in Delavan. It has small nozzles near the guardrail that point toward the traffic area. All a highway worker has to do to de-ice the bridge is push a button, and the nozzles spray potassium acetate, which can melt ice.
Another innovation is infrared sensors that are mounted underneath snowplows to sense the pavement’s temperature. That information is used to decide which chemical will work best to keep ice from forming on it. About 100 trucks in the state have the sensors so far.

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