WYDOT maintenance crews work to ensure roads stay safe in the winter

January 3, 2017

The Wyoming Department of Transportation uses a variety of materials to increase traction and help melt ice and snow during winter months.

Although plows take care of a majority of the snow, the ice melting materials help with snow and ice that’s left on the roads.

WYODT uses sand, a crushed aggregate with salt mixed in to keep it from freezing, to keep the roads clear.

“We do add liquid chemical to it so that the sand goes down wet in all of the newer trucks – some of the older ones don’t have that feature,” said Tim McGary, District Maintenance engineer out of Laramie. “But the idea is to try to get the sand to stick to an icy road better.”

The sand provides traction on icy and snow packed roads Other materials can be used to melt ice and prevent build up.

“In some areas we’re using straight ice slicer, which has a better effect on melting the snow and ice and does give a little bit of traction,” McGary said.

Brine, beet juice and other liquid deicers are also used in some areas to prevent freezing, although these products are impractical for use on much of the state’s highways.

“We get a little bit of criticism because we don't use chemical more often on some of the open areas,” McGary said. “But with our wind phenomena, what we run into is if there's 6 or 8 inches of snow and it blows across the road, if you've got chemical on the road, it tends to stick to the road. And then you've got a slush buildup, and we can't keep up with keeping the slush off.”

Stay informed about the latest road conditions by visiting WYDOT’s 511 Travel Information website.