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One snow/ice control trend is sprayers that can either pre-wet the material or anti-ice the roadway. Some can do both at the same time. Photos: Mark Hall/SnowEx
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Some sprayers can switch to a high-volume, pencil-spray nozzle.
Ice Age

This same practice applied to the roadways—anti-icing—is finding success too.

Anti-icing attempts to keep the bond between ice and pavement from forming in the first place. Brine solution is applied directly to the roadway before or at the beginning of a storm.

The primary benefit of anti-icing, the prevention of snow and ice bonding with the roadway, simplifies plowing efforts: less time plowing and reduced wear and tear on equipment both result in saved dollars.

Another advantage of anti-icing is that the pavement absorbs the brine and holds it in place, as opposed to granular materials, which don't adhere naturally. Because of this, road surfaces can be treated up to five days before a winter weather event and, as long as it doesn't rain, the chemical remains in place and effective.

There are further advantages from a management perspective. Since it is preemptive, anti-icing can be scheduled within regular operation hours, avoiding budget-devouring overtime. And once the event occurs, it takes less time to address the snow and ice, again saving on labor costs.

Cool Equipment

Equipment manufacturers are also delivering better application options. They offer new equipment that can either pre-wet the material or anti-ice the roadway—or do both at the same time.

Manufacturers also are developing multiple spray nozzle options for specific applications. For instance, some sprayers can switch to a high-volume, pencil-spray nozzle to address areas where snowpack has already occurred. The high-volume spray breaks through the snowpack and delivers brine solution to the road surface below. As the snow and ice begin to melt, the brine spreads out and eventually breaks the ice/road bond between the lines, making plowing much easier.

Given the emergent equipment, pre-wetting and anti-icing are growing trends. Additionally, several companies now offer new types of brine solutions. Therefore, from increased use by municipalities to the current direction of manufacturers who cater to them, the message is clear—wetting materials and roadways are ideas that are far from “all wet.”

— Mark Hall is director of marketing & sales with Warren, Mich.-based SnowEx, a product division of TrynEx International.