Hot Shots for Cold Climates - Evaluating Treatment of The Hardest Icy Spots

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Status:  Complete
Report Date:  12/21/2020


To address rising chloride levels in Minnesota surface waters, MnDOT has reduced its salt use for winter road maintenance. Still, some hazardous winter road conditions may require “hot shot” treatments, which use additional amounts of salt or other chemical treatments to deice and maintain roads. Exposed bridge decks and conditions caused by drifting snow, blow ice formation, black ice and roadway shading can be particularly dangerous for motorists and may require hot shot treatments. Researchers investigated whether their operators’ treatments of these conditions differed from normal winter road maintenance and whether they required more salt. After monitoring selected sites during the 2019-2020 winter season, researchers learned that most of these conditions don’t require additional salt. Only some exposed bridge decks and roadway shading called for extra deicing, and that amount was minimal. The project showed that MnDOT’s trained operators deal with most severe winter road conditions without using excess salt.

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