The price of road salt has surged due to low supplies ahead of winter, according to an AP report. The low supplies were caused by heavy use during last winter. Municipalities-- as far south as Georgia-- are stocking up. Prices on average are twice what they were last season, but in some areas are five times as much.
Transportation officials adopted additives during last winter that was able to keep salt working at temperatures as low as -25 degrees Fahrenheit. The officials needed the additives because salt used to de-ice roadways is ineffective below 16 degrees Fahrenheit.
Beet Juice, Molasses, Even Cheese Brine Being Used To Treat Frozen Roadways - CBS Pittsburgh
"It's all about availability… States are using whatever they can find that works, especially in low temperatures."
Tony Dorsey, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials spokesman
Last season, New York and Penn. tested sugar beet juice— which is created during the sugar refining process— as an additive. Ohio's Hamilton County used nontoxic ash from coal power plants. Washington state mixed molasses with saltwater, creating a gooey mixture that kept roadways clear for up to four days.
In Dec. 2012, Milwaukee began a pilot program in which cheese brine is dumped on the city's roads to help melt ice and snow. The brine is a waste product created when making cheese. The city spent $6.5 million combating snow and ice on the roads in 2012-- the pilot cost $6,500.