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Home >Snow and Ice Control >About Anti-Icing

About Anti-Icing

There are two approaches to snow and ice control: anti-icing and deicing.   De-icing is the approach with which most people are familiar because it has been around longer and it is the approach that is most likely to be used on lower speed local roads.  Deicing is characterized by allowing the snow to accumulate until there is enough to plow, and then, when it is plowed, a large amount of a sand and salt mixture is spread to provide traction. This process is repeated as necessary throughout a storm.  While this approach can be generally effective on the lower-speed, lower-volume roads, it will often result in "snow pack"- snow and ice that is bonded onto the road surface. Snow pack can often last for many hours, and sometimes days, after the end of a storm event, and crews can spend many hours of overtime and large quantities of salt to remove it.

Under an anti-icing approach, snow fighters today use carefully calibrated equipment to spread a measured amount of salt early in a storm, and as necessary throughout, to prevent the snow and ice from bonding to the road. Salt is not applied every time the road is plowed.  By preventing the snow and ice from bonding to the pavement, vehicle tires have much more contact with the pavement surface and the roads will clear much sooner after the storm ends.

This approach does require better training, equipment and technology, but it also provides a much higher level-of-service at a lower overall cost. Under either approach, roads can still become slippery from time to time during the storm events; however, anti-icing dramatically reduces the amount of time that the traveling public is exposed to icy conditions.

These pictures were taken within minutes of each other immediately following a winter storm event:


This is a picture showing deicing



This page last updated on 11/12/13

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