How MDOT Dealt with Recent Snow and Extreme Cold Temps

I had the privilege to work with Zach, Supervisor for MDOT in their Southwest Region during some of the worst winter weather in decades. Low temperature readings as low as 19 degrees below zero. High temps in the single digits. With snow fall totals from 16″ – 20″ depending on where you were standing. Then there was the wind. This isn’t surprising to those of us that lived through it. Work, Schools and just about everything else was closed. Travel treacherous at best, impossible in some places. But the hard working folks that try to keep our roads clear and safe were up against a real problem. They had not been able to salt the roads for 3 days and now the sun is coming out mid week and with pack ice on the roads from 1/2″ to 3″ thick.

Pack Ice 5 degrees F.

Pack Ice 5 degrees F.

So what to do? The plan was to apply Calcium Chloride W/BOOST* @ a 40 gallon per lane mile rate, followed by a truck to spread salt treaedt with Boost @ 450 lbs. per lane mile.

MDOT herbicide / anti-ice unit.

MDOT herbicide / anti-ice unit.

MDOT Spreader Unit applying material for traction after liquid.

MDOT Spreader Unit applying material for traction after liquid.

This was done on a busy 5 lane section of M-43 (West Main St.) in the Kalamazoo, MI. After 30 minutes, ice was breaking up and within 2 hours standard blading and salting operation had the roads back to bare pavement for drivers.

30 minutes

30 minutes

2 hours after application ( sorry for photo quality )
2 hours after application
( sorry for photo quality )


The project was a success, material tracked around intersections and ramps and broke up the pack ice there as well.

This is an exert from the Detroit Free Press that talks about the BOOST product as well.


“Sand, however, has its own drawbacks, illustrating the challenges faced by those trying to keep roads cleared in such dire weather.

Macomb County Roads Department Director Bob Hoepfner, who has been with the county road department for 43 years, said conditions are unprecedented.

“I never remember a season like this. It’s just bone-chilling. It’s really quite extraordinary,” said Hoepfner, who noted that his department is turning to alternatives other than sand, such as liquid calcium chloride, which did the trick in clearing a one-mile icy stretch of Metropolitan Parkway in Clinton Township that closed for hours today.”

So the Bottom line here is this, if you need a performance proven deicer, prewet agent or Anti-Ice material, Calcium Chloride W/BOOST* will work for you.

Contact Great Lakes Chloride, Inc. for more information.


About Dave Budd

Vice President of Product Development and Marketing, Great Lakes Chloride, Inc. Serving Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Kentucky. Retired Michigan DOT, October 2010 after 32 years experience in Maintenance/Operations. Specializing in winter operations and liquid de-icers and anti-icers.
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