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Beet juice breaks the ice

If you thought the brown sludge on the roads right now was just dirt, it's actually beet juice.

When temperatures drop below 20 degrees, the Missouri Department of Transportation uses a by-product of extracted sugar from beets, mixed with salt. Salt alone can't melt snow and ice from the roadways when it gets that cold. The beet juice mixture is an alternative to using calcium chloride.

It is more highly corrosive than the beet juice, and more costly too, so that's why the state, we're still using some calcium chloride around the area, but we're slowly switching over to the beet juice, said Phil Sandifer, Area Engineer. MoDOT has used over 78,000 gallons so far this winter. The beet juice mixture is also used by the Iowa Department of Transportation.

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