Getting ready for winter's roads

Getting ready for winter's roads

Getting ready for winter's roads

With the weather swinging from summer to winter temperatures and back again, it may be hard to know what to prepare for. But Nevada's Department of Transportation (NDOT) is in full preparation mode to help ensure safe travel in northern Nevada when the winter weather comes for good.

When the roads get icy this winter, motorists around Winnemucca will see a different road treatment in use that cuts the ice and dries the roads faster. NDOT in the Winnemucca District has ordered an ice treatment material, called Interstate Melt 50 (IM50), in preparation for winter. IM50 is a liquid brine [salt and water mix] that is applied to melt ice and dry the roads without the use of sand in the mixture.

IM50 is one of a number of brine mixtures developed for use on winter roads.  These mixtures have been used in Nevada before but not in the Winnemucca area.  

The brine melts snow and ice better than other deicing products – without all the chemicals. And it works in even lower temperatures. 

Because the brine puts salt in a liquid form, it can go to work immediately to melt the ice and dry the roadway. The brine can even be applied to a roadway in preparation for snow and ice. Locally, NDOT personnel will be experimenting with the new material to determine its best use.

IM50 will be visible on the roadway. Winnemucca District Maintenance Manager Shaun DeForest said the road treatment will be red, pink, or blue in color, depending on which color the manufacturer adds to make the mixture visible for more even application. The color will not hurt the finish on vehicles.

DeForest said he ordered IM50 for use on Reinhart Lane, East Winnemucca Boulevard, Winnemucca Boulevard through the downtown area and on Hansen Street. “This will be our first time trying it in this area,” DeForest said. He said he has seen it used on Emigrant Pass and it cleared the roadway better than the traditional salt and sand mixture. 

Another of IM50's advantages is that it doesn't leave sand behind that can cause an accumulation of dust and that later has to be swept up. Although he plans right now just to use IM50 on those main routes right in Winnemucca, DeForest said it could be used on Golconda Summit or any other area in a situation where salt and sand aren't doing the job. 

The new road treatment is too expensive to be used widely, so IM50 won't replace the salt and sand mixture NDOT stockpiles for use on roadways to melt ice and increase traction on most roads each winter.  See the nearby list of winter road travel tips from NDOT.

Before driving, motorists can dial 511 (1-877-NV-ROADS outside of Nevada) or log onto for Nevada state road conditions.