LAS VEGAS (KXNT) – State transportation officials have made the decision to not use anti-icing agent on a portion of Kyle Canyon Road.
The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) will discontinue using the anti-icing material known as “Ice Slicer,” along Kyle Canyon road (State Route 157) uphill of the Rainbow subdivision starting this winter. Instead, maintenance crews will be using sand, which the transportation department said provides wheel traction but does little for roadway deicing.
“Our priority is the health and welfare of Mount Charleston residents and visitors,” said NDOT District 1 Engineer Mary Martini. “As such, we are discontinuing use of ‘Ice Slice’ amid environmental concerns. While we search for a viable alternative, crews will use sand on the roads during the interim,” Martini said.
For decades, icy roads on Mount Charleston were treated with a mixture of sand and salt, leaving behind a layer of grit and dust that eventually ran afoul of air quality rules. The department eventually solved that problem six years ago by switching to a product called Ice Slicer, which dissolves completely in water and doesn’t need to be mixed with sand or cinders.
The department has tried other products, including a magnesium sulfate mix, but it hasn’t found anything that works as efficiently in the unique conditions on Mount Charleston. Ice Slicer is an all-natural, high performance deicer containing 90 percent sodium chloride and more than 60 additional trace minerals. It de-bonds ice from the road surface 65.3 percent more effectively than standard white salt, and melts up to double the snow and ice after one hour. It’s also 40 percent less corrosive than standard white salt with a 14-degree lower freeze point.
The department orders about 40 tons of Ice Slicer annually, though its actual usage varies greatly depending upon weather, location and needs. (It’s the same product used on roads in Lake Tahoe. Ice Slicer will continue to be used on the remainder of State Routes 157, 156, and 158 as well as other weather impacted areas throughout Southern Nevada).
Recent concerns about Ice Slicer runoff tainting well water has prompted a change.
“Although there is no evidence directly linking Ice Slicer runoff with changes in well water quality, we decided to err on the side of caution,” said Martini. “This is a preventative measure to ensure the continued well-being of Mount Charleston residents and visitors. We’ll closely monitor traffic conditions, making any necessary adjustments,” Martini said.