Bedford Heights, Ohio, chooses enhanced deicer to clear winter roads

While not large, the city of Bedford Heights, Ohio, has its fair share of icy roads. They’ve tried quite a few creative ways to melt the dangerous roadway ice, but some tactics just weren’t working they way they wanted.

Just ask Nick Baucco, public service director for Bedford Heights.

“Beet juice, yeah, we tried beet juice,” Baucco explained. “Waste of money in my opinion. Plus it stinks. We had to create a big, 50-ton pile of salt outside of our salt shed. Then we poured beet juice all over it and used a front-end loader to mix it up. It didn’t work very well and it was pretty expensive. I don’t think beet juice does a thing.”

Baucco needed a different solution. In seeking out an alternative to beet juice, he attended a seminar presented by Cargill Deicing Technology . “That’s where I first heard about their new deicer and I was pretty impressed,” said Baucco.

The deicer product used by Baucco is called ClearLane enhanced deicer , and it’s a salt product that’s different than raw rock salt because it contains a pre-wetting agent and coloring agent. These chemical additives help keep roads clear by providing a faster reaction time and longer residual effects, plus they also protect distribution equipment from damp salt corrosion.

“We decided to give it a try and ordered 200 tons since we only have about 50 paved lane-miles to tend to,” he said.

Baucco said he was impressed from the start, but decided to do some tests by treating one road with the deicer and another road with regular rock salt.
“The difference was clear,” he said. “The deicer product worked significantly better for us. I was able to clear that road using only one application of the enhanced deicer versus two applications of salt.

“In general,” Baucco continued, “I haven’t worked out the exact numbers, but by using the deicer, I’d say we use about 25% less material on the roads now. The other thing I really like is that it works at cold temperatures. We can apply it at night and not have to wait for the sun to heat up the pavement, or rely on friction caused by traffic. The product goes to work right away.”

Even at extremely low temperatures, the product adheres to the road surface more effectively than dry salt, providing more efficient deicing by minimizing scatter from wind and traffic. Distributing the deicer is also much easier than untreated salt because the product remains free-flowing in the trucks.

This year, Bedford Heights doubled its use of the deicer and applied about 400 tons.

“It works, what else can I say,” Baucco said. “We tried other things, but nothing does the job as well as the enhanced deicer.”