Safe Over Lanes

April 9, 2007

Two years ago, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) decided to take a hard look at how to best improve winter driving safety on the accident-prone U.S. 20 Ironwood Bridge in South Bend.

Two years ago, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) decided to take a hard look at how to best improve winter driving safety on the accident-prone U.S. 20 Ironwood Bridge in South Bend.

INDOT considered installing a fixed atomatic spray technology (FAST) system, but when federal funds proved unavailable, the agency opted instead for a new technology called SafeLane Surface Overlay. The patented epoxy and aggregate overlay acts as a rigid sponge, storing anti-icing chemicals inside and then automatically releasing them as conditions develop for the formation of ice or snow.

A new white paper published by the technology’s inventors from Michigan Tech University indicates INDOT made a good choice.

The report finds that installation costs for the South Bend SafeLane overlay project were about half the cost of funding that had previously been sought for the competing system.

The report was prepared to assist the Federal Highway Administration in evaluating the application of SafeLane technology on interstate highways in Indiana.