Trial and error enhances winter maintenance for Ind. city

Case Studies
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The city of Carmel, Ind., isn’t afraid to test drive new deicing technology. Over the years the northern Indianapolis suburb has spread just about every type of deicer on their roads including agricultural products.

The results weren’t exactly what they were looking for, however.

“We tried agricultural products as a pretreatment on roundabouts for a few years,” said Dave Huffman, street commissioner with the city. “Cars were hitting it and sliding off the road because it was so slick, so we had to follow it with straight salt to compensate.”

The city decided to try something new, and was introduced to a product produced by Cargill Deicing Technology called ClearLane enhanced deicer. That was about six years ago, and the city of Carmel hasn’t looked back.

“We’ve come to the conclusion that [an enhanced deicer] is the best thing for us to use,” Huffman said. “It just has fewer question marks, which is good peace of mind.”

The enhanced deicer used by Huffman is 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, and they also protect application equipment from salt-induced corrosion.

“This product was a solution for us for a number of reasons, but the reaction time is a huge benefit,” Huffman said. “In less than 15 minutes we see the effects, and we’re laying about 20-30% less product compared to straight salt, which saves time and dollars.”

While the quick reaction time creates initial effects after a snow or ice storm, the deicer’s residual effects have additionally impressed the city, and helps save on application costs and labor as well.

“There have been times when we get a dusting, an inch of snow, or even rain after a major event and the deicer product on the roads is still working,” Huffman said. “That’s a lot of dollars saved when you don’t have to send 20 trucks out to reapply.”

Huffman noted applying the deicer is easier for the trucks as well, because the product doesn’t stick together and cause jams in the spreaders.

Maintaining around 250 paved lane-miles, the city of Carmel uses between 5,000 and 6,000 tons of product each season, and the enhanced deicer continues to be their choice for effective winter road maintenance.

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