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Kalamazoo Co. Road Commission pre-treating in advance of anticipated ice

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - While 1/10 of an inch of ice may not be enough to bring down power lines, it can wreak havoc with your morning commute.

Newschannel 3 took a look at what's being done to prepare the roads for tomorrow's possible icy conditions.

Not many jurisdictions in southwest Michigan pre-treat their roads, but the Kalamazoo County Road Commission began some pre-treating last year, and now they're trying to build it into their winter road maintenance program. We caught up with them this afternoon to see what they're doing to prepare.

This truck is carrying about 5,000 gallons of boost--a mixture of calcium chloride and a sugar cane byproduct that is applied when the weather conditions are just right--in hopes of preventing this dry pavement from turning into ice.

"Spray it on the road...it sits there and dries...and then it activates with moisture," explained Bill DeYoung, the General Superintendent with the Kalamazoo County Road Commission.

Moisture, in this case, meaning snow and ice.

DeYoung says pre-treating the roads helps road crews work more efficiently after the bad weather hits.

"It's not allowing ice and snow to bond to the road, therefore we're not going up and down the road three times to clean it up...it prevents that bond, it should be able to go through the road one time and have it cleared," he said.

The road commission also sprays the product on its salt reserves, reducing salt usage by 40% and improving its effectiveness.

"We're trying to save money; we've been treating our salt with it for about four years, it enhances the ability of the salt to work," DeYoung said.

The road commission is just pre-treating major roadways like Sprinkle Road, Stadium Drive, 9th Street and Drake. Drivers are urged to proceed with caution during their morning commute.

Michigan State Police safe driving tips on ice include:

Leave early
Reduce your speed
Allow additional room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you
Allow more braking distance
Brake and de-accelerate in a straight line before making a turn

Remember, ice is the great equalizer. So just because you have a four-wheel drive doesn't mean you can drive at the posted speed if roads are icy.

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