DELAWARE - It doesn't look like this cold weather is going to let up anytime soon. Not what anyone really wants to hear, with snow and ice still covering sidewalks, parking lots, and some roadways across the area.
A big issue for crews this winter, trying to clear ice from the roads is just how cold it's been. With temperatures hitting the low teens and single digits, conventional methods just aren't doing the trick, so some states have turned to something else to beet the cold...and Delaware might join in.
A splash of beet juice, a touch of salt...
It might sound more like a recipe for a soup, than ice removal, but as road salt becomes less effective once temperatures drop below 15 degrees. States like Pennsylvania and New York are using beet juice to help thaw icy roadways. Now DelDOT might follow suit.
"Beet juice is one thing we're working on, we've been in contact with penndot and we're eager to see the result of their test and see how it works," says Jim Westhoff, a spokesperson for DelDOT.
The sugars in highly concentrated beet juice, combined with salt brine, create a chemical reaction, lowering the freezing point of water on the road more than salt by itself, causing ice to melt, and stay melted for longer.
Westhoff says "initially, the cost was pretty high, it was much higher than salt, and in the recent years, the cost of beet juice has actually become comparable to salt, so it's one option, and we're always looking for ways we can do a better job."
Though it's not as easy as grabbing a jar from your kitchen shelf, beet juice concentrates can be used at home to thaw a slippery driveway or parking lot.
One alternative you might be able to mix up at home: A tablespoon of rubbing alcohol, teaspoon of dishwashing detergent, and a half gallon of warm water.
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