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I-94 Bridge Drivers Can’t Count On Bridge Deicers

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For some time, there have been stories about the use of bridge deicers on the I-94 bridge over the Red River. But as of late, the system hasn’t been working because the the bridge de-icing system is programmed to shut down with heavy snowfall or wind and when the air temperature drops below 12-degrees above freezing, Potassium acetate, the chemical used in the spraying, actually freezes and makes the road slicker at these temperatures.

Larry Tester of Minnesota DOT said, "That is the lowest melting temperature product we have in our arsenal. There might be some stuff on the market that would go lower, but I don’t think they’re environmentally approved to be spraying over the Red River." Larry Tester says road crews do what they can to make the bridge safer at these frigid temperatures. Crews lay down a salt-and-sand mix for some traction, but even the salt won’t help melt the ice it simply keeps the sand from freezing.

For all drivers, this is a reminder that you can’t count on the road crews to protect you. Clearly in Fargo there is going to be heavy snow and temperatures below 12-degrees through out the winter season.

In dealing with bridge travel in winter:

  1. Watch your speed
  2. Don’t change lanes on the bridge.
  3. Stay alert.

If you are in an accident, make sure to get the names of anyone who indicates they saw what happened. If you witness an accident, check to see if everyone is OK and stay around or at least give the drivers your contact information. If you are injured, seek the advice of an attorney who does that kind of work and who can explain your coverages and rights.