(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – Road crews have been working around the clock to keep metro area streets clear, but there are still icy spots that will have drivers gripping the wheel tight.

In some places across the country they use what they have on hand such beet juice, among other things. In Denver, treating the icy streets during the bitter cold can be a little tricky.

Pig urea, beet juice and cheese brine — none of them really bring winter weather to mind, but other areas across the country are using them on roads.

“They’ll make a brine, kind of a pickle juice out of it,” Pat Kennedy with Denver Public Works said. “I’ve talked to the people who’ve used it. Those products work but those products come with a cost as well. Most of those will have an odor associated with them.”

Kennedy is a street maintenance supervisor and says since smelly solutions are out of the question in Denver, Public Works uses magnesium chloride, a liquid de-icer or “ice slicer.’

“We’re not using a de-icer to melt the streets dry. What we’re using it for is to form a bond breaker between the falling precipitation and the pavement,” Kennedy said.

Plows scrap off the layer of slush that forms, but in extreme cold temperatures, ice slicer can backfire.

“It can refreeze, so we can have some issues with refreezing.”

Why not just use salt? It’s what’s tried and true across the east coast and other winter cities like Minneapolis.

“You need to put down a lot, and then you have issues with corrosion on vehicles, or corrosion to some of the infrastructure.”

Kennedy attends a yearly conference with other cities to trade techniques. Every year he says they’ll find what works, is cost effective and environmentally friendly.

“We want to do the best job we can to keep our streets safe.”

The temperatures will continue to stay low over the next several days. Kennedy said on Thursday the sun was a big help to dry out the streets, and it also helps to activate the products they put on the roads.


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