Chicago suburb sees clearer roads with enhanced deicer use

March 13, 2015
The deicer flows freely without clumping.
The deicer flows freely without clumping.

While it may encompass just 25 lane miles, Rutland Township takes its winter maintenance responsibilities seriously. That’s why Jay Schultz, highway commissioner for the western Chicago suburb, made finding the right road deicer a top priority.

“I’ve tried spraying salt with calcium chloride, I’ve tried using brown treated salt, and I’ve tried spreading blue treated salt,” he said. “I just wasn’t entirely pleased with any of these products, however.”

From labor-intense mixing to inconsistent and ineffective melting capabilities, Schultz was met with frustration and disappointment from a number of different deicing products and methods. Over the years he began looking for a better solution to help make winter roadways safer for his community. Part of his search involved conducting informal tests, such as spreading different types of treated salt on different roadways and comparing results.

“Some products bounced right off the road and onto the shoulder,” he said. “Others would make slush, but never completely melted the ice and snow from the road. It took some time, but we eventually found a green-treated product we liked.”

Called ClearLane enhanced deicer, the product Schultz discovered is made by Cargill Deicing Technology. The enhanced deicer is a salt product that’s different than regular rock salt, because it contains a pre-wetting agent and a green coloring agent. The enhanced deicer helps clear roads by providing a faster reaction time, longer residual effects and less scatter.

“I noticed a nearby township was using the product and boy their roads were black,” he said. “Once I tried it, I noticed a big difference in the melting factor. We apply it on asphalt; it begins melting quickly, and the water runs to the shoulder. With a bit of wind and sun, it’s no time before our roads are black and dry.”

Above all, Schultz and his team find that by using less product, they are still able to achieve the level of melting and safety required to meet their responsibilities: effective melting translates to safer roads and using less product translates to overall cost savings.

“We’re responsible for the safety of every child who gets off the school bus,” Schultz said. “When we don’t apply as much of the deicer on the roads and still get effective melting, that means we’re saving the taxpayers money and providing safer roads. Hands down, this product allows us to maintain our level of responsibility to our community.” 

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