Research Projects | Synthesis Projects in Progress

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17-S2: Use of Prewetted Solid Materials for Roadway Anti-icing

Problem
Historically pre-treatment or anti-icing has been accomplished with the use of liquid products such as CaCl, MgCl, or brine. Recently, a transition has been made to higher pre-wet rates for solid applications because many crews seem to believe that this is a more cost effective method than liquid.

Objective
Clear Roads members are interested in learning about state DOT’s experiences with using prewetted solids or slurries for roadway anti-icing as an alternative to traditional liquid anti-icing. Specifically, they’d like answers to the following questions.

  • What is the prevalence of this technique and what are the conditions when this approach may be appropriate?
  • What is the cost/benefit of this approach when compared to traditional liquid applications?
  • Is there an increased environmental impact to this approach? ie. more chloride on the road or more importantly off the road?

Expected Results
Through a literature search and survey of Clear Roads states, this project will produce a synthesis report which summarizes state DOT practices relate to prewetting of solid materials for anti-icing, including a description of which materials are used, what prewet rates and/or slurry rates are used, the most appropriate weather and road conditions for this technique, effects on the environment, regulatory issues, and success stories, challenges, or lessons learned.

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15-S1: Annual Survey of State Winter Maintenance Data

Problem
Winter maintenance is a significant part of many state DOTs’ maintenance budgets. For years, winter maintenance managers have reached out to peers in other states to compare salt use and salt prices, compare winter costs, and identify ways to save money. Clear Roads saw an opportunity to build on past data-gathering efforts and establish a formal mechanism for annually compiling a range of winter maintenance data.

Objective
The goal of this multi-year project is to systematically compile and analyze a range of data from state DOTs related to their winter operations. This will help winter maintenance managers identify and discuss trends in key areas, compare data by year or by state, and facilitate peer-to-peer discussions regarding approaches, tools and costs.

Expected Results
All state DOTs were invited to participate in a survey about resource use, material use and costs for the 2014-2015 winter season. Thirty-five states participated, and the data was compiled into an interactive map that allows users to compare metrics (such as salt price per ton) and identify trends.

The survey was repeated for the 2015-2016 winter with 34 state participants, and the map was updated to include multiple seasons of data. The format provides a foundation for expanded data gathering, analysis and reporting opportunities in the future.

 

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