ALDOT prepared to pull out all winter weather weapons - WVTM-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Birmingham, AL

ALDOT prepared to pull out all winter weather weapons

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BIRMINGHAM, AL - As the latest round of winter moves into Central Alabama, ALDOT crews have already spread 40,000 gallons of salt brine in the Birmingham area. Salt brine is a mixture of water and 23 percent sodium, by weight.

After mixed and pumped into 5,000 gallon holding tanks, it’s dumped into awaiting tanker trucks.

The DOT’s Brian Davis said they usually spread salt brine on the road ahead of a winter storm.

“It lowers the freezing point down to about 11-15 degrees, which is great. But it hydrates the pavement.  So it will dry that lane up,” Brian Davis pointed out.

However, salt brine is not the only weapon the DOT has in its winter weather arsenal. 

Depending on how much snow hits the ground, when and at what temperature, the highway crews have half a dozen options at their disposal.

Another unique product is called calcium magnesium acetate or CMA.

It comes in granules like this and it too can be mixed with water.

“CMA is a product we put out on a wet roadway and you get the chemical reaction of it and the water and build up heat and it will actually build up heat for about five hours,” Davis concluded.

In a worst case scenario, crews will spread calcium chloride, which Davis says can burn right through the ice.
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