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Comparing the Direct Costs and Infrastructure Implications of Anti-Icing Strategies

Project #: 4W4763
Start Date: 12/23/2013
End Date: 02/29/2016
Status: Completed

Currently, there is the lack of research to systematically examine anti-icing options for NDOT’s various bridge decks and pavements. Relevant information based on field experience and reliable testing is much needed to assist NDOT in its process of developing anti-icing policies. Anti-icing has proven to be a pro-active approach to maintaining wintery roadways; however, the increased use of chemicals may pose a risk to the NDOT infrastructure such as decks and pavements and reduce their service life. Research is needed to compare various anti-icing strategies (mobile operations vs. fixed automated spray technology – FAST) and chemicals (granular salt, salt brines, magnesium chloride, potassium acetate, etc.) to determine their effects on infrastructure life-cycle.


Strategies such as high friction anti-icing pavement surfaces may serve as a desirable alternative to FAST systems in terms of cost, reliability and versatility, and their cost-effectiveness is yet to be fully evaluated for NDOT. Preliminary studies have shown the benefits of such alternative anti-icing strategies in accident prevention; but there have been user concerns over their durability. This research will address three critical research clusters for the Nevada transportation system: Infrastructure and Materials; Data‐Driven Decision Making; and Economics.


The research will synthesize information from existing research on anti-icing for comparison with NDOT practices and test the chemicals and products relevant to the NDOT current practices. The research will facilitate the understanding of how various anti-icing strategies and chemicals affect NDOT infrastructure and enable NDOT to make more informed decisions accordingly.


The objective of this research is to provide the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) with data to select the anti-icing strategy best suitable for the Nevada highway system that balances the safety, infrastructure and environmental goals.



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