Since 2015, the City of Winnipeg has been conducting a pilot project using beet juice to replace some of the salt and sand used on city roads.
So far the project has been isolated to the east side of the city, but it’s been going so well the city is looking to expand.
“We have two other operating yards, one in the south area and one in the north area, and we would be looking to expand there in the future,” Acting Manager of Streets Maintenance, Cheryl Anderson said.
“We’d have to look at tanks and having the product there, there’s still a bit of work to be done but we anticipate moving into those areas.”
The formula on city streets is a mixture — half beet juice and half a combination of water and salt. The raw beet juice is thick and dark but the mixture from the city is more runny and clear.
“It’s proven to be very effective. You can use it in colder temperatures so we’re using it up to -30,” Anderson said.
“The reason we’re using it is it does help to create the anti-icing. So we do use it as preventative, so it does help the drivers and also when we use it in the pre-wetting — it helps our products to stay on the road.”
The anti-icing program in the city has approximately 37 spot locations (bridges and underpasses) and 143 lane kilometers of roadway.
So far this year the city has used 100,000 litres of the product on city streets.
But drivers have one big concern — their vehicles.
“It’s got good reviews from what I understand so it might cut down on the erosion of cars that rust,” driver Bob Brakefield-Moore said.
According to the city, there’s no evidence beet juice impacts the rusting of cars.