ITD gains national exposure for innovative brine production

ITD’s reputation for efficient winter maintenance and the in-house production of deicer/brine has generated national attention and serves as a model for other transportation organizations.

Roads & Bridges, a national magazine that focuses on innovative transportation processes included a three-page story, “Better surroundings: Idaho DOT makes enhancements to brine maker.” It traced the evolution of the brine production process in ITD’s District 1.

Keith Viebrock, a D-1 operations program manager, explained ITD’s brine-production process from retrofitting an existing facility to developing the best formula for Idaho’s winter conditions.

“Management started looking into alternatives to magnesium chloride to find a more cost-effective deicer that would perform in the area,” he wrote. “Salt brine seemed to have an acceptable temperature range, and while figuring cost, it was estimated that we could produce and deliver brine for $0.14/gal versus an average of $0.74/gal of magnesium chloride.”

Idaho is divided into six transportation districts, Viebrock explained, the northernmost of which is D-1. It borders Washington, Montana and Canada and contains about 1,600 lane miles through farmland, mountain and national forests.

“The winters are, at best, unpredictable. Each year leaves you wondering if it will be dry and bitterly cold or relatively moderate with heavy snowstorms … Taking this information, the district does its best to find the most efficient, cost-effective ways to keep the roads safe for the traveling public.”

Changes made during perfection of the brine-making process were “astounding,” the program manager wrote. “The facility worked from day one and has performed flawlessly since then.”

National exposure generated by the Roads & Bridges article serves as an example of how ITD is being transformed into a national leader in transportation. The article reaffirms the department’s three Strategic Plan goals:

  • Providing the safest transportation system possible,
  • Providing a mobility-focused transportation system that drives economic opportunity, and
  • Becoming the best organization by continually developing employees and implementing innovative business practices,

See the text of Roads & Bridges article,Better surroundings."

Published 9-28-2012