Breaking the Bond of Winter Precipitation with Brine
Brine prevents the initial rounds of precipitation from bonding to the pavement, aiding crews who are charged with clearing streets.
You may have seen those faint rows of thin white lines on your street in the winter. Those lines are from salt brine - something more and more cities are using to mitigate winter road slipperiness. It used to be that brine spraying was primarily relegated to bridges and overpasses to keep them from icing over, but now brine is part of the winter maintenance portfolio for roads and streets as well.
Brine helps prevent the bond of snow and ice to pavement. Brine can remain in place for a day or so on the busiest city streets and longer on residential streets. Most cities make their own brine solutions. The brine recipes vary based on the temperature, the precipitation and the timing of the precipitation, the road surface and the traffic volumes.
Road brine is part of the road clearing portfolio. Certain situations might call for other solutions, especially if there is rain mixed with snow – as that rain could serve to wash the brine away or dilute the effectiveness of the brine. Once it snows several inches or more, plowing and traditional salting are often needed.
Brine can be placed more precisely because it doesn't bounce when it hits the street. It can also save cities money because it can eliminate the need to call out all the salt trucks and their crews in the middle of the night if there is a dusting of snow or light freezing drizzle.