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January 3, 2014

How vegetable may help PennDOT treat icy roads

BUTLER — The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is experimenting with beet juice as a way to treat icy roads in especially cold weather.

PennDOT officials say in a KDKA-TV report that chemicals in the juice are supposed to help road salt melt ice at lower temperatures. Typically, salt loses much of its effectiveness below 20 degrees, but when mixed with beet juice, the salt reportedly melts ice down to zero or even below-zero temperatures.

PennDOT experimented with beet juice a few years ago but officials say a new and improved version is being tested as part of a pilot program in Butler County, about 20 miles north of Pittsburgh.

The new beet juice has more sugar in it, which is supposed to improve its performance.

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