MnDOT works to keep roads clear

MINNEAPOLIS - If you were late to school or work this morning, because of a slow commute you were far from alone.

"When folks came across the scattered slippery spots they actually lost control of their vehicle," explained Mark Fischbach.

A chosen few likely didn't make it into the office at all as traffic cams showed plenty of spin outs and at least one vehicle on it's side.

Neighborhood and side roads are much worse, but why after all these years have we not come up with a solution to combat an ice packed road when the temp is below zero.

In the east, some states use a beet concoction. In Wisconsin, get this, they use a cheese brine solution to help clear the way and we are using a solution in Minnesota as well.

"The majority of our products that are similar have a corn product mixed in with it, so it's basically the same product," said Fischbach.

Fischbach also said, no matter the solution, they all work pretty much the same way.

The salt that is used on the roads is comprised of about 20 percent water, when the temperature drops to below zero that water quickly freezes, which makes the salt less effective.

Consequently, adding a beet, cheese brine or corn solution helps keep the salt working like it should, but only at a temperature around 10 degrees below zero.

That said, when it is below zero, MNDOT workers have to apply a lot of product.

By mid-afternoon the major roads appeared to be in a lot better condition thanks to the corn/salt solution, along with a little radiant heat from the sun and for now that's all we have.

"There's no miracle product out there that's going to work in cold temperatures," explained Fischbach.

MNDOT's constantly looking at alternatives, but it has to be affordable, which presents a challenge when we're typically only below zero a week or two out of the year...typically.


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