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Published January 07, 2014, 08:36 PM

A few interesting ingredients can help salt brine de-ice the roads more effectively in the colder weather

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - In subzero temperatures, salt brine can do more damage than good when trying to de-ice the roads.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - In subzero temperatures, salt brine can do more damage than good when trying to de-ice the roads.

But a splash of beet juice or a dollop of molasses can be just the right ingredient to get it working again.

You may be surprised to hear what goes into keeping roads clean.

Beets, cheese, and potatoes might sound like ingredients for a weird soup.

But they can actually be used on roads to help salt brine work in some of the coldest temperatures.

At the negative temperatures we have seen lately, salt brine doesn't always work, Drivers around here are relying on their icy-road driving skills to stay safe.

"Pay attention, drive slow, that can be hard."

"Just watch out, some people drive crazy."

But there are ways to give that brine some extra punch.

Many places around the country are mixing up strange de-icing concoctions, adding things like cheese brine, molasses, and potatoes.

Here in North Dakota beet juice is the not-so-secret ingredient.

"It makes our salt brine more effective, that is, it lowers the working temperature."

The traditional salt and water mixture freezes at about negative six degrees.

With added beet juice, that drops another ten degrees to negative 16.

"Plus it is darker, so it pulls in the sunlight."

Of course, beet juice is abundant locally, with North Dakota's robust sugar beet industry.

Other places use the same concept, for example, in Milwaukee they use cheese brine leftover from cheese making.

It's cost-effective to use natural resources over man-made products like "potassium acetate."

Nord: "It has a lower freezing point, but it's manmade, so it costs more so we just stick with the salt and beet juice."

It was still too cold on some of our coldest days, like yesterday, to use the beet brine mix.

The ND Department of Transportation used 52,000 gallons of the beet juice on local roads last year.

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