Liquid de-icer used on major roadways
by Geoff Fox
Everyone has seen the lines on the road where it has been treated for a storm on the way.
But what is that liquid?
In West Virginia, the State Roads uses a salt brine for pre-treatment of roadways, said Greg Hott, acting Morgan County supervisor for State Roads.
The salt used is the same type they use now to salt the roads, only it is dissolved in the water, he said.
The use of the salt brine started in Jefferson County after Maryland and Virginia had begun using it. Later, it worked well on I-81 and all West Virginia counties now use the brine mixture.
The solution used in Morgan County is made in Jefferson County, which is where the only sprayer in the district is stationed.
The district includes Morgan, Jefferson, Berkeley, Hampshire, Hardy and Grant counties.
In Morgan County, only the primary roads are hit with the spray, Hott said.
These currently include Rt. 9, U.S. 522, Fairview Drive from War Memorial Hospital to Rt. 9 and Fairfax Street.
Once a storage area is built and more trucks are equipped, more roads will be treated.
Over in Maryland. a similar salt brine is used, according to Maryland State Highway Administration spokesman Charlie Gischlar.
The brine is like thick oatmeal. In the pre-treating, the brine leaves a film of salt to prevent initial bonding between the ice and road, Gischlar said.
This buys time when a storm hits to keep snow and ice from covering roads.
This form can’t be used if there is rainy weather, as it would get washed away.