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Genesee News

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

State senate considers replacing road salt with sugar beet molasses

Local Government

By Glenn Minnis | Nov 1, 2019

Snowstorm

Michigan state legislators are weighing a plan that could see sugar beet molasses replace salt as the state’s primary winter-conditions road solution, according to WSGW

The passage of Senate Bill 379 could pave the way for the start of a three-year study on the “effects of beet molasses and other organic products” in the effort to safeguard state roadways during winter months.

“The molasses can be employed by MDOT (Michigan Department of Transportation) onto the roadway in many forms – by spraying, by soaking current salt product in it, and by mixing with other products like pickle or cheese brine,” WSGW reported. “Regardless of form, beet molasses has shown to be more effective at de-icing roads while being less corrosive than salt to bridges and vehicles, plus it reduces chloride pollution of rivers, lakes and groundwater.”


Government data shows that the country now spends in the neighborhood of $2.3 billion each year on anti-icing and de-icing measures, thereby increasing the cost of road maintenance and repair by around $5 billion. Advocates of the new plan insist the organic products stand to reduce salt use by about 30 percent.

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Michigan Department of Transportation

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