originally posted by: butcherguy
a reply to: new_here
I knew the storm was going to hit that area 48 hours beforehand, and I don't have access to the same meteorologists that the highway departments in
Virginia have access to.
Up here in Pennsylvania, we pre-treat the roads with liquid calcium chloride and then we plow the roads with snowplows.
I hate that stuff! Personally, I think all those kinds of deicing chemicals should be banned. In many cases they cause more accidents than they
prevent! And it's true too! There's three (3) basic kinds in use:
- Magnesium Chloride
Chloride is good from about +35F (with wind, which creates black ice). down to about +16F
Magnesium Chloride is used from about +16F down to about +6 to +8F
APEX is used from 0F down to about -16F. However, most states don't stock this product so they only have Chloride and Mag-Chloride. Anything below
-16F and you're 'supposed' to suspend deicing operations (but few do).
Here's the problem, all of these products are like pouring water on ice. As we all know, ice with water on it is many times more slippery than just
the ice alone. But it gets worse. In order for these chemicals to work, plows have to clear all the snow off the road surface so the chemical gets
applied to the ice and not the snow. (hint - your traction comes from snow, not ice). If they're applying the wrong chemical (because each step up
is more expensive) then they're just applying a lubricant to the ice and it's too cold to melt. In other words, it's worthless. In fact, it's less
than worthless...it's DANGEROUS! If they would have just left a inch or so of a snow coating on top of the ice people would have far better
I think we all know that all of the chemicals noted above are based on salt, so vehicle corrosion is an issue with any of them. Many states like my
home state don't use chemicals, and it works far better. What they use is traction aids, things like sand or coal / mining tailings. They're not
trying to melt the ice, but rather just give people traction when crossing it. Trying to actually "melt" the ice in Wyoming, on all the main roads,
would be truly impossible! Colorado is a mix of both. In a lot of places here they will use granular salt mixed with sand. It's better than
nothing, but it still has salt in it. Not a big environmentalist personally, but I can tell any state that uses lots of deicing chemicals on their
roads by looking at the shoulders and ditches. The vegetation which grows there (if any) is usually only plants which can tolerate very high sodium
content in the soil.
Anyway, next time you see a chemical truck going down the hightway, don't get behind them thinking you'll have better traction. Actually, the exact
opposite is true! And when I say 'slick', I mean SLICK!! You at least have some traction (not a lot) on ice that's dry, but on ice covered with
chemical you have zero traction.
Oh, and one other thing...do you know why the chemicals have colored dye in them?? It has nothing to do with crews being able to see what chemical is
in their tanks (though they may say that). The reason for the dye is political, believe it or not! The dye is there so when people see it they won't
call the state DOT and say their road hasn't been treated yet. It's all about perception.