Snowflakes may be flying on parts of Iowa today  and Iowa Department of Transportation trucks are already out coating roadways with salt brine. D.O.T. spokesman Pete Hjelmstad says they’ve been spraying the liquid brine routinely to keep frost from forming and hopefully, to keep the roads safer.

Hjelmstad says frost around bridges and other problem areas can make for very slippery conditions. He says it’s a little bit unusual to be spraying brine in January but because of the weather conditions, it’s what is appropriate. Hjelmstad says frost can be an issue on any stretch of road when temperatures dip, and for some areas in particular.

He says it’s usually places like bridge decks or shaded areas, but north-central Iowa saw a major frost event recently where all the roads were very slick. Hjelmstad says the D.O.T. trucks may be out more often now, depending on the weather conditions.

He says the brine treatment on roads can last for 24 hours or longer depending on the conditions, shorter if there’s rain or frost. He says it’s still a cost-effective way to keep the roads safe.

Hjelmstad says the brine also reduces the amount of sand that is needed, saving tax dollars and natural resources and keeping the sand out of storm sewers.

By Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City