To keep us from slip-sliding …

This stuff keeps ice from forming on these freezing mornings. This was on Bryant Drive on Dec. 13.

What are these stripes we see on our roads and parking lots on frosty mornings? Nothing fancy, just a salt solution that's supposed to prevent the pavement from getting slick with ice. And it seems to work.

Actually it "works really good," Chuck Knoll of the Linn County Road Department told me when I asked him about this last week. The county uses a solution of magnesium chloride or similar salt. The stuff, concentrated salt water, has a lower freezing point than water and keeps ice crystals from forming when the thermometer dips below 32 degrees F.

At least it does when there's no rain on cold mornings. When it does rain, the solution would wash off without effect, obviously.

A word to readers: Lame as it may be, this is the first item on this site since Dec. 16. I've been off the beat because of illness, and it may take a little while to get back up to speed, if "speed" is the right word for what passes as the pace of this blog. Thanks for your kindness in hanging in there with me. (hh)


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