There’s a new anti-icing solution being tested on the roads in Williams Lake.
The city is experimenting with something a little more organic.
The secret product is called Beet 55. It is made from 40 per cent beet juice and 60 per cent brine.
The city has been trying it out for the past few weeks instead of its usual anti-icing agent, which is magnesium chloride.
The beet solution freezes at a lower temperature, so that makes it more versatile in variable weather.
It works best when applied before a storm and also seems to last longer than the usual sand and salt.
Beet juice has been a recipe for success on snowy roads all around North America as cities try to find alternatives to corrosive chemicals.
Toronto road crews filled their trucks with beet juice while battling their ongoing deep freeze and in B.C., the Coquihalla’s road maintenance team has been using it since 2010.
So far, the city of Williams Lake is finding beet juice 15 per cent less corrosive.
According to the municipal services, it’s less expensive than magnesium chloride and more environmentally friendly.
But it’s not a magical solution for every winter weather woe.
Vancouver says it just wouldn’t work on busy commercial thoroughfares with a lot of pedestrians tracking brownish slush in to local businesses, but that’s not a big issue in the Cariboo.
In fact, Beet 55 should make cleanup a lot easier come springtime.
It takes crews up to 12 weeks to clear off 2500 tons of road sand off the streets.