What’s the Iciest City in USA and How Do They Treat Their Icy Roads?

icy roads

The coldest temperature recorded in the US was -80 degrees Fahrenheit, in Prospect Creek, Alaska. Yet the most northerly state is not the only cold spot, with freezing temperatures across the country. So how do states deal with these icy blasts?

Combating winter roads efficiently is a matter of life or death. Read on as we discuss the iciest city in the US and how the country deals with icy roads. 

What Is the Coldest City in the US?

Fairbanks, Alaska, is the coldest and iciest city in the US. Situated in the cool northern state it has recorded the lowest temperature of -66 degrees Fahrenheit or -54 celsius.  Its average temperature in the coldest month is -16.9 degrees Fahrenheit or -27 degrees celsius. 

Many of the other cities and towns in Alaska have weather patterns that are dictated by coastal patterns. Fairbanks has the added attraction of winds that blow in from Canada and Siberia. Added to its lack of daylight between November and March and Fairbanks gets some extreme weather conditions. 

How Do They Treat Roads in Alaska?

Surprisingly, not all roads in Alaska have salt placed on them. Particularly around Anchorage, salt is only placed on the roads in certain circumstances. While it is one of the most well-known substances used to cut through snow and ice, there is a reason it is applied sparingly or not at all. 

The Municipality of Anchorage who manages roads in the area found that the broken down snow and ice would then be hauled away to snow dump sites. When this melted it would disperse into storm drains and the ground, causing environmental issues. 

Salt filtering away would end up in local creeks and ecosystems, killing plants and animal life. In response, they switched to sand, housing it in dry places so it did not freeze in the winter. 

Liquid Salt

That does not mean salt is not used at all. The city uses liquid salt, also known as magnesium chloride. It is used to pre-wet dry products, such as sand, to improve their performance. Less material can be used while the performance of the sand is increased. 

You can buy liquid salt from most good hardware or garden stores. Mix it with sand and rock salt then spread it on paths. The liquid will activate the brining process in the salt, hiking up temperatures and increasing the efficiency of the mix. 

North Dakota

North Dakota has four of the top ten coldest cities in the US. This state is the coldest in the continental US between winter and fall. The coldest cities are the following:

  • Grand Forks
  • Williston
  • Fargo
  • Bismarck

The reason for its cold climate is down to geographical placement. It sits at the northern end of the midwest. As the state is very flat and arid, winds can easily whip across it, picking up speed and bringing cold air with them.  

Other Methods of Road Treatment

Other than liquid salt there are several other products used across the US to treat roads. Many local authorities will decide on the level of precipitation and current conditions to decide on the best method and product. 

Rock Salt

Rock salt is the most well-known and widely used product to treat roads across the US. It comes in large chunks, making it easy to lift, transport, and use in the process of salt spreading. 

It works by breaking up the ice and loosening the bond between it and the road or pavement. You can get it almost anywhere and it is much cheaper than other forms of deicer. 

The only downside is that it is extremely corrosive and can rot cars if not removed from their chassis after winter driving. Over application can cause serious environmental damage, as noted in the example from Alaska. It also does not work well at very low temperatures. 

Liquid Brine

Liquid brine is a mix of rock salt and magnesium chloride. It helps break the bond between snow, ice, and the ground. You will usually find it used as a pre-treatment, being applied to pre-empt snowy and icy weather. 

It is relatively inexpensive with few restrictions. However, like rock salt, when very low temperatures arrive it can hamper its effectiveness. 

Premix

Premix consists of rock salt and calcium chloride. It is often used in areas that are trying to use less salt for environmental reasons. Premix is also effective in very low temperatures so is good for extreme climates. 

One of the benefits is that it is less harmful to the ecosystem and environment. It is more expensive than other products and needs dry storage to be fit for use. 

Sand

Sand is a low-cost material that can increase traction on icy roads. As it does not have any inherent qualities that melt snow or ice, it is often mixed with other products. Without this, it can lose its ability to provide traction quickly. 

One of its drawbacks is that it can clump. This can block drains and waterways, so it must be removed quickly when clearing icy roads

Commercial Property Icy Conditions

While the state deals with major icy roads and highways you still need to keep your business site clear of snow/ice which is a huge slip/fall liability to your operation.  Invest in a team that has your back and keeps your business IN business!  When the winter comes you will be prepared and ready to go. 

If you suffer from snow and ice in the winter months, then let BAM’S Landscaping assist. We can provide commercial snow removal for all your needs. Contact us here for a quote and let us keep you safe this winter.