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Get the facts about the City's anti-icing pilot.

During Winter 2017 - 2018, the City will expand the anti-icing pilot conducted in February and March 2017. The product will be applied to about 3,000 km of road, or about 40% of Edmonton’s arterial and collector roads.

Anti-icer is a calcium chloride solution with an added corrosion inhibitor. It is applied in a thin layer to roadways, once per snow event, before or during a snowfall. The product prevents the snow from sticking to the pavement, helping the roads to stay clear longer, and making snow removal easier. It reduces the need for plowing and sanding.

During the initial pilot, it was applied in small quantities to select arterial roads once per snow event, before the snow fell. Treated lanes stayed bare longer, road surface friction increased and stopping distances were reduced.

The expanded pilot will focus on building our expertise to ensure we are using the product to maximum effectiveness. This includes developing processes, training our people and continually monitoring weather patterns. We have already established the product’s efficacy.

Anti-Icing Pilot Maps

November, 2018
Maps of roads that are part of pilot.

View Interactive map

Winter Road Conditions Survey

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback on the Anti-icing Pilot Program.

The survey is now closed. 

Safety

Calibrated, automatic spreaders help reduce unnecessary salt application. In small quantities, anti-icer is safe for humans and animals, and should not be a cause for concern for most healthy dogs. Any casual contact followed by cleaning should keep your dog safe.

Pets
  • To protect their paws, walk around sidewalk areas where homeowners have placed salt pellets
  • After the walk, clean your dog’s paws with water
  • Don’t let your dog lick their paws until after you’ve cleaned them
  • Don’t worry if they’d had a couple of licks before you get them cleaned up
  • Stop your dog from drinking puddled winter water because of possible salt content
People

As with pets, safety for people is a question of quantity. Ingesting large quantities of calcium chloride can cause gastrointestinal distress, skin exposure can be irritating, and inhalation can cause lung and throat irritation.

While these ailments can happen with high quantities, small amounts spread thinly on roads are unlikely to cause any health concerns to humans or pets. City crews wear personal protective equipment when applying the product because they are exposed to much larger quantities than the average citizen. The City also errs on the side of caution when it comes to employee safety.

Parks Being Treated

Paths in the following parks are being treated with anti-icer as part of the pilot:

How it Works

An anti-icing solution – calcium chloride with a corrosion inhibitor – is applied before snowfall and acts as a debonding agent. Snow then melts on contact and evaporates, preventing snow and ice from sticking and black ice from forming on pavement. This makes snow removal easier and more effective, resulting in better conditions for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. In the winter 2017 trial, it was found that roads treated with anti-icer had greater friction and stopping distances were reduced.

By stopping snow from sticking to the road, the City can potentially save time, money and resources, because plowing won’t be required as often and sand may not need to be applied to streets.

Vehicle Wear and Tear

The product is a liquid calcium chloride solution with an added corrosion inhibitor. It is less corrosive than traditional sodium chloride road salt, which is used in many municipalities in eastern Canada.

We do not expect to see an increase in vehicle corrosion for two reasons:

  • Calcium chloride is less corrosive than sodium chloride, which is mixed into the road sand that Edmonton has used for many years
  • We expect to apply less of the product to the roads, compared to street sand

The product’s corrosiveness will be fully examined during the 2017-18 winter season and reported to council at the conclusion of the pilot.

Environment

Calcium chloride has less of a negative impact on vegetation than sodium chloride. As we expect to apply less product to the roads than in previous years, the health of roadside vegetation may actually improve.

Calibrated, automatic spreaders help reduce unnecessary salt application. We will continue to work with EPCOR to assess and monitor the amounts of chlorides going into the storm water sewers.

Evaluation and Feedback

As part of pilot project evaluation, financial, safety and environmental factors will be examined, as well as the impact to infrastructure and vehicles. This evaluation will help determine when anti-icer is the most appropriate product to use.

In spring 2018, the City gave Edmontonians an opportunity to share their thoughts on proposed changes to the snow and ice policy, including the use of anti-icer.

For More Information

Roadway Maintenance

Telephone

Call 311 for more information, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Note: Email is monitored during business hours.

In Edmonton: 311
Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311

TTY 780-944-5555
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