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MD Road De-Icing Program Using Molasses

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Sugar beet molasses mixed with the salt brine is commonly used on roadways during winter months.
Elliot Francis
Sugar beet molasses mixed with the salt brine is commonly used on roadways during winter months.

By Elliott Francis

The Maryland State Highway Administration is launching a pilot program using molasses to help keep roadways free of snow and ice.

The compound is sugar beet molasses mixed with the salt brine commonly used on roadways during winter months. Highway administration spokesperson Sandy Dobson says it could be the perfect ice melt solution.

"It's all natural, non-corrosive, and it helps in the application of the salt," says Dobson.

Typically, road salt and salt brine dissipates rapidly after it's applied. Highway tech manager Scott Simon says the molasses in the so-called 'Ice Bite' compound helps the salt stick to the roadway.

"With the heavy volume of traffic, it eventually beats everything off the road. This will let it lay on the road, let the traffic go over it and it will stay," says Simon.

Salt truck driver James Mackensie tested it last year. He wants to spread it a little further this season.

"We only done the bridges last year. This year we'll do most of 95," says Mackensie.

The program begins in Howard and Frederick counties.

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