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Mixture Keeps Sioux Falls Streets Ice Free

January 29, 2013, 5:52 PM by Shawn Neisteadt

Mixture Keeps Sioux Falls Streets Ice Free

For those who commute into Sioux Falls, you might have found a surprise when you got to the city limits Tuesday morning.  That's because while roads were icy outside of town, for the most part, they were just wet inside the city.

The activity at the Sioux Falls Street Department Headquarters continued well into the day.  Large equipment replenished the stockpiles of material spread on the roads over the past few days.  In fact, trucks covered the city every hour overnight in an effort to make a difference.

"The difference is, if you're driving from out of town and hit the city limits, you can tell the difference. Our streets aren't slippery here; they're just wet," Street/Utilities Manager Galynn Huber said.

Huber says the secret to success for Sioux Falls is in white tanks.  The Calcium Chloride is mixed with salt.  That's what melts the ice on the streets and makes them drivable.  Twelve gallons of the liquid is mixed per ton of salt.  Then somewhere between 400 and 800 pounds is spread on a lane of roadway over a mile.

"The state D.O.T. uses a different chemical; some of the cities use a different chemical.  But for us here in Sioux Falls, it seems to work really well and we get exactly what we want with it," Huber said.

But just because roads appear fine now, doesn't mean the work is over.  Those at the street department will keep a careful eye on the roads because the incoming colder weather could easily create more ice.

"Those bridge decks might get a little bit slippery for us.  We'll hit those bridge decks for sure and then we'll watch the rest of the road.  If we start icing up on the rest of the road we'll have to get back out and hit it again," Huber said.

And hopefully the roads remain as safe as possible for everyone.

More than 40 trucks were out in Sioux Falls overnight, with a crew change that happened at midnight.  The city did experiment with different chemicals a few years ago.  While they were less expensive, they didn't work as well.

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