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Winter Road Maintenance

Calcium chloride and magnesium chloride are highly effective de-icing materials, and are used in winter road maintenance all over the world. Nedmag produces both products in large quantities, contributing to winter road maintenance in many countries. These include the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, Scandinavia, Great Britain, the US, Canada and Russia.

In Europe, calcium chloride and magnesium chloride are predominantly used to humidify the ordinary salt used for icy roads (NaCl). Its effectiveness is undisputed. In North America and Russia, these products are used both in their liquid form and in their solid form, as the lower temperatures and persistent ice formation make regular salt ineffective. A few years ago, Moscow switched to spreading calcium chloride and magnesium chloride because the enormous quantity of sodium chloride that was spread every winter caused too much damage to the trees.

Spreading wet material has, among others, the following advantages over spreading dry material:

  • it defrosts more quickly. 
  • more accurate dosage, which makes the wet salt very efficient in use. 
  • it enables you to work at greater speed. 
  • savings on road salt of as much as 35 to 40%. 

The use of calcium chloride (CaCl2) or magnesium chloride (MgCl2) as a humidifier in spreading wet materials has a number of positive effects in addition to the abovementioned advantages:

  • it is less harmful to the environment. 
  • it defrosts more quickly at lower temperatures. 
  • it makes the salt stick to the road even better, which means that there is less of a chance of it being blown away. 
  • it defrosts for longer, because salt humidified with calcium chloride or magnesium chloride stays on the road for longer, as – unlike sodium chloride grit – calcium chloride grit does not dry. 
  • even more of a saving on road salt, sometimes as much as 50% 

In the United States and Canada, other methods are used in addition to the spreading of dry and wet materials, such as spraying calcium chloride grit and magnesium chloride grit, particularly as a preventative measure in the event of (heavy) snowfall and black ice. The large melting capacity of these grits prevents that snow freezes to the roads, making the snow easier to remove from the road. In Europe, among others bridges, high roads and bicycle lanes are sprayed like this.

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