Another selling point for the Nebraska design is its relatively low cost. Since 2002, the Nebraska Department of Roads has maintained a pilot project bridge that uses 52 conductive cement slabs, powered by the municipal electrical grid. The power required to thermally de-ice the bridge during a three-day storm is about $250, much less than salt and chemical solutions, researchers say.
10 Techs Taking On Old Man Winter
Speaking of salt, engineers are thinking about other methods for creating self-sufficient winter roads. A recent study published in the journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research details a system in which roads could essentially salt themselves.
Researchers in Istanbul, Turkey, have developed a technique for mixing polymer salt pockets into bitumen, a binding agent used in standard asphalt road surfaces. As vehicles drive over the road, the salt is released in measured amounts. Because the salt composite is evenly embedded in the road surface, the asphalt could potentially de-ice itself for years at a time.
It's all good news for winter travelers. Bad news, I suppose, for Mr. Plow.