This year, the North Texas Tollway Authority is introducing a new solution to prevent freezing on roads.
They’re using brine, a specific combination of salt and water, to pretreat bridges and overpasses before a weather event.
Brining, which the Texas Department of of Transportation has already introduced to its routine, is relatively new to North Texas, but has been a common practice in northern states for years.
The latest news from around North Texas.
“It’s another tool in our toolbox,” said Eric Hemphill, the NTTA’s director of maintenance. “Every year, we say – 'what can we do better?'”
The brine, which is water saturated with salt, has a lower freezing point than water.
NTTA crews will pretreat troublesome bridges and overpasses with brine, with the hope that it’ll keep ice from sticking.
Hemphill compares it to greasing a baking sheet.
“If you’re making cookies and you throw them in the oven and try to pry them off, you can’t pry those cookies off very well,” he said. “But a little thin treatment of cooking spray, they usually slide right off without any issue. That’s what we’re trying to get – to keep the ice from bonding to the concrete.”
The NTTA is still planning on using all of its other conventional weather preparation tools, like sand, plows and trucks.