In a demonstration, a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation anti-icing truck sprays a de-icing cocktail of brine and beet juice on Monday. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A splash of beet juice, dollop of molasses, a squeeze of cheese brine. In the coldest weather, the recipe for safer roads goes beyond the usual sprinkling of salt.
Across the nation's snow belt, transportation officials are experimenting with ways to make rock salt work better by keeping it on the roads longer and melting ice at lower temperatures.
Plain salt is largely ineffective below 16 degrees.
In Milwaukee, road crews are experimenting with plentiful "cheese brine," leftover from cheese making, to keep salt from bouncing away in traffic. New York and Pennsylvania are among states trying sugar beet juice mixtures, while molasses and potato juice are part of formulas elsewhere.
Many of the food derivatives are in commercially marketed products such as Ice Bite and Magic Salt.