© 2021 KOSU
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Oklahoma City testing more sustainable, less corrosive solution for treating icy roads

City of Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City is experimenting with a new way to treat roads ahead of potential wintry weather Tuesday.

Drivers in the metro may notice a few bridges with a redder tint. That's because Oklahoma City’s Public Works Department is experimenting with beet juice to combat potential icy conditions Tuesday.

According to a news release, the department says beet juice is used in northern cities like Calgary, Washington, D.C. and Cincinnati.

So, what makes the beet juice solution different? Public Works Emergency Operations Manager Mike Love Jr. says rock salt needs temperatures above 15 degrees and sunlight to be effective, but adding a percentage of beet juice to the salt or brine mixture brings the operational temperatures down to minus 10 to minus 20 degrees.

“Since this is the first time we are trying beets in our brine, we will start with a salt solution that has 5% beets,” Love said. “Our goal is to streamline the City’s snow and ice program, so we can provide rapid and effective response to make our roadways safer during the winter season.”

Beet juice has the added benefit of being less corrosive than salt, and it's biodegradable.

Oklahoma City has purchased 2,000 gallons of beet juice for the pilot program.

Eleven bridges in OKC will be treated with the beet-laced brine solution.

  • Exchange Avenue over the Oklahoma River
  • Pennsylvania over the Oklahoma River
  • Agnew Avenue over the Oklahoma River
  • May Avenue over the Oklahoma River
  • Portland Avenue over the Oklahoma River
  • Meridian Avenue over the Oklahoma River
  • MacArthur Boulevard over the North Canadian River
  • Council Road over the North Canadian River
  • Meridian Avenue over Airport Road
  • MacArthur Boulevard over Airport Road
  • Meridian Avenue over SW 54th Street

According to the National Weather Service in Norman, a strong storm system will bring rain and snow to the area Tuesday and Tuesday night. Many areas will receive an inch or more or snow, with some locations having the potential of 4 to 6 inches of snow.

Nyk Daniels is KGOU’s Morning Edition host.
KOSU is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.
Related Content