Channel 8 News-The Beet Juice Story!

Buy a lot more. The fight against snow and ice is a seemingly constant battle for Iowa cities... Mark Tauscheck joins us now to explain how several metro cities are fighting slick driving conditions with an unusual ingredient... This clear plastic bottle contains West Des Moines' super mixture - mostly salt brine with calcium chloride and a sugar beet additive mixed in. The ingredients that make a recipe for a faster, safer drive home tonight... preventing snow and ice from bonding to the pavement.. Driving around West Des Moines streets today, the temperature was well below freezing, yet the main roads were full of melted slush. 8:27-"looks kinda pretty doesn't it!!" With so much notice before this storm, West Des Moines plow drivers were able to pretreat the city roads... 1:46-"it's not rocket science - hahaha" ...on Monday they dropped a mixture of salt brine...calcium chloride that helps the salt's effectiveness in low temperatures... and beet juice... 26:37-"it's sticky, almost like coca-cola, and it makes it stick to the pavement much better." West Des Moines and the DOT have been adding beet juice to their pre-treatment road mixture for seven years...the public works director for West Des Moines says the straight salt brine mixture they used to throw down on roads would often start disappearing within 24 hours...this super mixture can still be activated and stuck to the roads 7 to 10 days after application.. clive, waukee, and windsor heights buy the mixture from west des moines for their roads... Of course, sometimes there isn't time to pretreat - like the snow squall two weeks ago that brought the evening commute to a standstill throughout the metro...a very cold, dry snow moved in quickly at the worst time... 23:22-"you've got rush hour traffic gridlock occurs and we can't even get our equipment out to treat anything." This year has been more about fighting ice than pushing snow for plow drivers... using their all-natural secret weapon - beet juice - if they have time to use it. 2:26-"and it really works, you can tell when you use it and when you don't use it .." West Des Moines' Public Works Director Brett Hodne told me another big push is being more efficient with their de-icing treatments...usi ng equipment to monitor how much drivers are putting down and educating them on what their application rate should be...both have helped the city reduce their salt use from 3 to 4000 tons a year down to last year around 12 hundred tons ... The thinking is the smarter they are using salt and de- icing chemicals, the smaller amount that runs off into waterways.

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