Cole County Public Works Department says cold weather slowed them down

Chemicals taking longer to react with roads

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - This winter weather had road crews working around the clock in Cole County.

Officials say the extreme temperatures are making things very difficult.

The Cole County Public Works Department says it has been so cold that salt alone will no longer safely protect the roadways. It says salt only works when it is above 15 degrees outside so, crews have been adding calcium chloride to the mix.

Calcium chloride, combined with the salt, will work to keep roads ice-free in temperatures as cold as negative 15 degrees.

"The calcium chloride assists with the balance of the salt material by applying it when it comes out of the back of the spreader in the back. It keeps the material from bouncing as bad," said Larry Benz, of Cole County Public Works.

And crews say even with the addition of calcium chloride, the extreme temperatures still slow them down some.

"It takes a little longer for the salt and calcium chloride to react," said Benz.

Crews have to wait until there is a reaction on the roadway with the chemicals before they can repeat the process. That process will keep being repeated until icy roads are no longer a threat.

But the calcium chloride and salt mix does not work on country roads. The chemicals combine with the dirt to make a muddy substance. So on country roads crews are laying down cinder.

"It's just more tools in the toolbox that we can use to work against Mother Nature and keep our roads open," said Benz.

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