Let’s face it. The worst part of winter is not the cold, and it’s not the falling or accumulating snow that ends up in our yards. It’s the snow and ice pile-up that is caused mainly by snowplows as they pummel down the streets, leaving chaos in their wake. The plows bury cars and prevent people from walking across road intersections. Then there’s the salt, which causes damage to cars. Not to mention the dirty snow mounds that are left behind in the spring.
According to DailyMail, a new type of asphalt has surfaced, which has the ability of melting snow on its own. The asphalt is made of a composite material of salt, rubber and bitumen. The new asphalt mixture would help to prevent slip and falls, and would also be more environmentally friendly since boatloads of salt would not be washed into our waterways. By incorporating salt pockets directly into the asphalt, it does not get washed away, so it does not need to be reapplied. Researchers say that the material is just as durable as standard asphalt.
Of course the final battle will come from the makers of snow removal trucks and the road salt industry. Even though quality of life would be greatly enhanced in snowbelt cities, these types of initiatives could face a lot of heat from those who stand to lose money in the process. Let’s hope that common sense prevails, and Buffalo is one of the first cities to announce the arrival of this new type of asphalt when it hits the market.
Wouldn’t it be incredible if this same sort of application could be used for sidewalks? Hopefully these researchers are working to incorporate the same sort of salt pockets into concrete. Now that would be a real game changer!
Photo: The City of Buffalo’s Snow Fighting Team is ready for whatever Mother Nature brings our way this winter. Surrounded by a new sidewalk snow remover, plows and other snow fighting equipment, Mayor Brown, joined by Department of Public Works Commissioner Stepniak, conducted the annual inspection of Buffalo’s snow fighting fleet at the Department of Public Works Broadway Garage. $1.3.million in new snow fighting equipment was purchased this year.