Strategies for Snow and Ice Control at Extreme Temperatures: Review of Current Practice

Extremely cold winter storms (below about 10°F) bring about different considerations for taking care of roads than warmer winter storms, where granular salt and salt brine are cost-effective measures of melting snow and ice when used in combination with other operations (e.g., plowing). At temperatures lower than about 10°F, either extremely large quantities of salt are needed or no amount of salt can melt snow or ice pack. Chemical usage is of a widely used technique with various modifications (using deicers in daylight hours only, mixing salt with MgCl2, CaCl2, and/or agriculture by-products, and using high application rates) during extreme cold conditions. Additionally, plowing is still the ubiquitous and popular snow removal techniques in extreme cold conditions. Despite their environmental and hidden costs (air pollution, sedimentation, spring cleanup & disposal), abrasives are frequently used during extreme temperatures to provide temporary traction in low traffic volume and rural roads. In spite of high cost, pavement treatments offer the benefit of reducing chemical usage and associated environmental toll, enhancing agency preparedness, and quicker recovery to bare pavement. Weather forecasting system need to be better utilized in predicting the cold weather temperatures for better preparedness. Innovative strategies continue to be tested at severe temperatures, but agencies are reluctant to use due to its higher cost especially at places of uncommon extreme cold conditions. More research needs to be done to combine innovative strategies with traditional strategies keeping cost reduction as a main factor.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee AHD65 Winter Maintenance.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Authors:
    • Muthumani, Anburaj
    • Akin, Michelle
    • Huang, Jiang
    • Veneziano, David A
    • Shi, Xianming
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2014


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Maps; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 26p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 93rd Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01520306
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 14-4014
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jan 27 2014 3:23PM