MDOT Could Experiment With Sugar Beet Juice Mixture On Icy Roads

The State Senate passed the bill on Tuesday.

WWJ News
September 17, 2019 - 5:17 pm

LANSING, Mich. (WWJ) -- The Michigan State Senate has passed a bill that could see a sweet solution to help deal with icy roads during the winter.

Senate Bill 379, which was introduced earlier this summer, would require the Michigan Department of Transportation to start a pilot program testing a liquid byproduct from sugar beet juice, mixed with salt, that would be sprayed on roads to help melt ice.

The bill is aiming to not only make road conditions safer for Michigan drivers, but also cut down on costs in the long term by reducing the use of salt and other chemicals that contribute to the deterioration of public roads, bridges and groundwater in Michigan.

Republican Sen. Roger Victory of Ottawa County, one of the bill's sponsors, says the mixture is less corrosive than the rock salt typically used to melt ice, which means it would do less damage to the roads and the environment.

"This program would simply require MDOT to experiment with this process to see how it could potentially be used in the future to improve our winter road maintenance," Victory told WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick.

The bill calls for MDOT to issue a report no later than Dec. 31, 2022 detailing the results and best practices from the pilot program, which must be conducted in at least five test locations.

A number of cities across the country have adopted beet juice mixtures to combat the winter elements, including locally in Farmington Hills and Frankenmuth. 

The bill now moves to the State House of Representatives for consideration. It passed in the Senate by a vote of 34-2.