Winter Storm Warning from 4 a.m. Saturday – 4 a.m. Sunday

INDOT adopting new strategy for icy roads

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As the first real chance of winter weather approaches Indiana, the state has a new strategy for attacking the ice that could put drivers in danger.

In years past, drivers on Indiana interstates were likely to see brine trucks hitting the road prior to storms in order to pretreat the surface with a salt water solution, but this year those trucks will be getting more use.

“Instead of just pre-treating with salt brine, we’re actually using it when the storm is occurring,” said Will Wingfield, INDOT Spokesman.

During last year’s winter weather season, INDOT offices in Northern Indiana began trying a new strategy. They hit multi-lane roads with both traditional salt trucks and brine trucks, often rotating lanes during each pass. The added salt water proved so effective that the strategy is going statewide.

“It’s more likely to stay on the roads and actually do its job instead of bouncing off and into the storm drains and the environment,” Wingfield said. “The idea is to keep the salt on the road where it can serve the most benefit.”

The vast majority of INDOT’s fleet still consists of salt trucks, but that’s slowly starting to change. There are currently 73 total trucks in the Indianapolis area, and this year 10 of those will be converted into brine trucks. That’s up from just a handful last year.

While INDOT believes more brine trucks will make the roads safer, they will also use less salt in the process. The salt water solution is less than one quarter salt and more than three quarters water.

“The idea is to be more effective with the resources we have,” Wingfield said.

Drivers are unlikely to see many trucks pretreating roads ahead of the storm system expected to roll through on Thursday. Rain is expected to fall prior to any snow, which threatens to wash any brine or salt away.