TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT'S WINTER MAINTENANCE
here to learn about the Success of the Anti-Icing Program in Idaho
Why 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 magnesium chloride and the benefits
it can offer motorists.
calcium chloride and other liquids works 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, improves safety and reduces 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 car's paint. Tests
have shown that the proper application of anti-icing liquids
produces no negative effects on ground water, surface water or
WHAT CAN I DO
IF I DRIVE ON ROADS WHERE ANTI-ICING IS 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
In many cases anti-icing liquids works
better than sand. They keeps snow from firmly sticking to the
pavement. Anti-icing liquids also lasts 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
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
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 liquids 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
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 works better than other
chemicals. They reduce environmental impact, bridge corrosion and
In the last few years Idaho has worked with
Montana, Washington, Oregon and British Columbia to develop higher
standards for a winter maintenance chemicals. The goal among the five transportation
regions is to use a winter maintenance that is appropriate for our environment
and less corrosive than other alternatives.
For more information on magnesium
chloride or snow removal, contact Dave
Jones, State Maintenance Engineer, at