Ice-melting chemicals and sugar beet molasses

February 05, 2010|By Michael Dresser

State roads have been drenched in ice-melting chemicals, and as today dawns, the workers who operate Maryland's snowplows should have had a good night's rest to prepare for a sleep-deprived weekend.

By late morning, the plows should be in position to jump into action if and when the flakes - 18 to 24 inches, if you believe forecasters - begin to fall.

State Highway Administration spokeswoman Valerie Burnette Edgar said road crews in most of the state spent Thursday applying salt brine intended to slow freezing on the roads. Howard and Frederick counties are conducting a pilot program that is testing a sugar beet molasses mixture as a more environmentally friendly way of staving off snow and ice.

By early Friday, the state's top transportation officials will converge on the SHA operations center near BWI Marshall Airport to set up a unified command post for roads and transit systems.

Gov. Martin O'Malley issued a plea to motorists: "When the snow begins, stay at home if you don't have to go out. By doing so, you stay safe and our crews are better able to clear the snow when there are fewer cars on the road."

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