Q: Is Twin Falls’ current snowmelt system harmful to the exterior of our vehicles?
A: “For the last 2-3 years, we have been purchasing a product called IceKicker from Saltworx company in Utah,” said Dean Littler, the city’s street superintendent. “We have been using this product exclusively to apply with our spreader trucks and also use the product to make a brine solution for preapplication ahead of anticipated snowstorms.”
IceKicker High Performance De-Icing Salt is a coarse graded solar salt crystallized from brines from the Great Salt Lake in Utah. The salt is treated with a liquid and melts snow and ice faster and at colder temperatures than typical road salts, the company says. It also meets the requirements of most local and state public authorities.
The deicing salt is applied within Twin Falls city limits.
IceKicker is 50% less corrosive than standard grade white salt, making it better for equipment, infrastructure and environment, the company says.
Over application of salt at temperatures below 15 to 20 degrees wastes money, depletes resources and causes environmental problems, Littler said. At 15 degrees, one pound of IceKicker will melt 30% more ice than other salts.
Salt and sand are no longer mixed, but the city will use one or the other based on storm type and pavement temperature. If temperatures are below 15 to 20 degrees, sand will enhance traction on extremely slick streets.
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An IceKicker brochure says 70% of untreated traditional road salt stays on the road and the rest is wasted on the shoulder while 96% of pretreated IceKicker road salt stays on the road.
IceKicker’s blue color helps show where crews have been and what roads are safe.
In 1984, an estimated 130 total lane miles, or 20% of priority lane miles were deiced in the city.
Now, 630 lane miles of city streets receive sand or salt.
According to IceKicker, the recommended salt usage is 250 pounds per lane mile. About 63 tons of the product is applied per snowstorm for Twin Falls, and about 3.3 truck loads of 1,800 gallons is used to pretreat 200 lane miles with anti-icing brine.
“We will utilize our brine maker to produce a 23% salt brine solution and will strive to pretreat all 200 lane miles of priority No. 1 roadways ahead of any anticipated major storm,” Littler said. “This effort should provide increased efficiency and result in the use of less snow and ice control materials and manpower.”