Englewood Public Works proposed using a new tool in the cold-weather battle to provide traction when roads become icy. Rick Kahm, public works …
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Englewood Public Works proposed using a new tool in the
cold-weather battle to provide traction when roads become icy.
Rick Kahm, public works director, presented the proposal at the
July 6 city council study session to abandon the decades old system
of putting down a salt-sand mixture in favor of a newer deicing
He added that, if the council agrees to the plan, he would come
back with a request for money to buy the equipment needed to put
the system in use this winter.
Kahm explained the city has used a salt-sand mixture on the
streets since the 1950s but new technology makes this the time to
consider a change.
He said an analysis of available technology, including research
by the American Public Works Association indicates the use of a
material called ice slicer would be more effective in providing
traction for drivers traveling on icy roads and the material would
be more environmentally friendly than the current sale-sand
The report states the tests show the ice slicer is effective and
melts snow and ice until the temperature falls between zero and
minus five. The data also reports the ice slicer is 70 percent less
corrosive than the rock salt currently used. The switch would
reduce corrosion and thus maintenance of equipment, vehicles using
the roads and the road surface.
“We’ve always knows the salt-sand mixture has limitations,” Kahm
said as he explained the proposal. “For one thing, it only works
until the temperature falls below about 17 degrees. Also, after we
spread an average of about 200 tons of salt-sand on the roads, the
clean air rules require we sweep up and pick up what we put
In the report he presented to the council for the presentation
stated ice slicer is a natural product mined in Utah and can be
stored locally so it will be available when needed.
The proposal also is to combine the ice slicer with a solution
called magnesium chloride to make the de-icing process more
The information presented stated magnesium chloride wets the
street which assists the ice slicer better adhere to the road
surface. Wetting the surface means there is less splatter when the
ice slicer is applied so the material begins the melting action
Kahm noted the switch to ice-slicer would also better use of the
personnel in the streets department.
He said that is because following a typical snow storm, 64 staff
hours are needed for two sweepers, a truck and six employees to
sweep up and remove the salt-sand mixture.
He said, according to the data, the ice slicer has a natural
grittiness eliminating the need to use the salt-sand mixture to
provide traction. Also, since less is used, it reduces the amount
of hours needed to sweep up and pick up the material after a
The change-over requires purchase of equipment to apply the
magnesium chloride, modifying a 1,500 gallon water tank and
installation of a storage tank for the deicer. The proposal also
recommends installation of a GPS system in nine vehicles.
The total cost would be about $110,000 but Kahm plans to apply
for a Regionnal Air Quality Commission grant to cover 10 percent of
However, in discussing the proposal, he said estimates are the
new technology will reduce spending to provide traction and icy
roads by about $100,000. He also noted the reduction of dust
created when crews sweep up the sand-salt mixture.
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