Peter Auger, Auburn Hills City Manager
Thoughts on running a city, daily musings, and everything in between.
City Manager, Auburn Hills, MI
We will continue to use Michigan-made ‘beet juice’ in its snow removal efforts again this year. While some observant drivers may see brown, the City is actually being green.
Beet juice is actually a mixture of 20% sugar beet derived organic ice melting product and 80% liquid salt brine solution. We use it as an anti-icing, pre-winter storm treatment on city-owned bridge decks, select high-traffic intersections and substantial hills and curves to interrupt the bonding of packed snow and ice to the pavement. The result is safer road travel due to improved braking and traction performance during a winter snow storm and a more efficient and effective way of providing winter road maintenance.
Drivers may notice an unusual substance on the road because the anti-icing liquid is applied in lines, and has the look and consistency of maple syrup. Areas that have been treated using the anti-icing program often require little or no salt, once the roadway is plowed. The approach is also more environmentally friendly because it uses less salt per event to clear city roads and can last two-three days if there is no rain to wash it away.
A 725 gallon liquid tank of the beet and brine mixture can be used to treat approximately 35 lane miles of City roadway. Hey, it’s also a Michigan-made product.
Through a combination of updating nine city dump trucks with computer controlled salt spreading equipment and implementing anti-icing and pre-wetting programs, Auburn Hills has seen a 30% reduction in salt use since 2008. We have a great team at our DPS that keeps looking at our operations and keeps squeezing efficiencies out of what we do.
Also this week our City Council voted on a collaborative Winter Roads Maintenance Agreement with the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC). Under the agreement, we would provide snow removal and ice control on two RCOC roads, South Blvd. from Adams to Opdyke and Adams Road from South Blvd. to the Rochester Hills city limit, for an annual fee to the City of $15,291.These are roads that we travel on anyway, again it just makes sense.
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