Chicago fights road ice with beet juice

icy road

Juice from sugar beets is key in a new formula tested here to prevent ice buildup on the roads. Chicago mixes a cocktail of 15 percent beet juice, a gelatinous liquid that resists freezing even in subzero weather, with 80 percent briny water, and sodium chloride.

Salt will also work, but it erodes bridges and roads, gets into the food chain and kills vegetation and weakens bird egg shells, etc. So, alternatives are always needed.


  1. Indeed, the formula suggests that the mix is 80% “briny water” and 5% salt (NaCl). My homemade brine (for cheesemaking) is nearly 1/4 salt. I wonder how that’s better than the 15% salt/sand mix many states use.

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