Upstate New York town opts for cost-saving deicer over DIY pre-wetting

Sept. 17, 2015

While the town of Winfield, N.Y., sits a short distance from major thoroughfares, the quiet, upstate village of 2,200 people still sees its fair share of traffic. And its share of icy winter roadways that need to be safe for motorists. The town’s main roads surround the school district, and additionally serve as shortcuts for much of the driving public in surrounding areas.

“All the main roads lead to the school district, so that’s an important area for us to keep clear,” said Rick Gigliotti, superintendent of highways for the town. “Plus, for people on their way to Utica from the south, taking a shortcut through Winfield saves them some time, so we get quite a bit of extra traffic.”

The town traditionally spread a sand-salt mixture on its roads, but soon learned about the faster melting capabilities of pre-wetted deicing salt. Gigliotti liked the pre-wetted concept, but when he began reading about DIY mixing, he quickly decided it wasn’t exactly what he was looking for.

“We’d have to store the liquid and mix it ourselves, and I didn’t want to bother with the storage tanks,” he said. “Plus, we take off at three or four in the morning to treat our roads after a storm. Having to pre-wet our salt would add several hours to our day.”

After Gigliotti received a brochure about a pre-wetted deicer that was delivered pre-mixed, he became intrigued by the product. Gaining the benefits of pre-wetted salt and avoiding the costs and labor associated with doing the mixing in-house seemed like a smart investment.

“When they told me it was pre-mixed, I said ‘Great! I’ll take a load,’” he said. “And we’ve been happy with the results.”

The pre-wet, pre-mixed product implemented by Gigliotti and the town of Winfield is called ClearLane enhanced deicer. Produced by Cargill Deicing Technology, the enhanced deicer is a salt product enhanced with chemical and eco-friendlier additives. The pre-wet feature helps clear roads by providing a faster reaction time and longer residual effects.

“By not having to complete the mixing and pre-wetting ourselves, we’re saving money on the labor and overtime it would take to do the mixing,” he said. “We’re also applying less of the deicer because it works so well, which means we’re saving money by keeping the trucks and the plows off the road for longer periods of time.”

While the town of Winfield continues to enjoy the convenience of using the pre-treated deicer, they’ve also noticed that using the product has helped increase public opinion and safer winter roads.

“The best thing is that our roads are clear and safe, and the public likes the results of the deicer,” said Gigliotti. “We haven’t had a single complaint or accident, and that’s what’s most important.” 

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