Pre-Treating Roads Becoming More Common In Oklahoma Communities

Friday, January 2nd 2015, 7:59 pm
By: Craig Day

With all the overnight wrecks on slick streets and highways in our area, city leaders in Owasso don't want to take any chances.

While they hope all that's coming is rain they, and many communities, are pre-treating roads to prevent icing – something that's becoming more common.

1/2/2015 Related Story: Tulsa Police Report Several Crashes Due Slick Spots On Bridges, Roads

City crews were already out pre-treating roads Friday afternoon, just in case ice or snow falls.

"We start with the bridges because they're more likely to freeze,” said city driver Mike Martin.

After bridges are taken care of it's on to major intersections, if needed.

The city has the usual stockpiles of salt and sand on hand, but before digging into that, Owasso will use a salt-brine mixture as they crank up their winter weather equipment.

The city is pre-treating potential trouble spots.

"Of course, started off just hand mixing it and doing some tests with it and later bought some production equipment and distribution tanks," said Tim Doyle with Owasso Public Works.

Martin is behind the wheel of one of the city's trucks used to pre-treat roads, with the salt-brine mixture.

"It's not hard to make, and it does its job," he said.

The city is able to mix 3,500 gallons of salt-brine an hour, but it has to be mixed just right to be effective - 23 percent salt, the rest water.

"When you get snow or ice falling, it prevents bonding to the road surface, which makes it easier to plow and things like that," Doyle said.

The only down side is the salt-brine doesn't work as well when the temperature is below 15 degrees; and any rain beforehand can dilute it, making it less effective.

"With the freeze overs, the quick little flash overs, the mist where you don't have a lot of moistures, the salt-brine is very effective in those types of situations," Doyle said.

Plus, it costs 75 percent less than using traditional salt and sand. So it saves money, while also possibly saving lives.

One thing to always keep in mind during the winter months, even if roads are clear, that doesn't mean sidewalks won't be icy.