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snowhillfarm 12/20/13 11:27 AM

Treating Icy/Snowy Roads
 
Hello there,
We are a farm that is environmentally conscious and attempting to be as organic as possible. We are trying to decide what options would be best for treating the snow on our roads that is least detrimental to the watershed/environment. We are trying to look into the practices on other organic farms in the area but no such luck yet so I figured why not ask you all for some input. My research has said that Calcium Magnesium Acetate and Potassium Acetate are the best options, but they both can be a bit expensive, especially the CMA. Any reviews on these products or other suggestions? Thanks!

Brighton 12/20/13 11:33 AM

My solution is to hook the blade up to the tractor and scape down the driveway and lane and that is pretty much it.

haypoint 12/20/13 11:38 AM

For snow, you plow it or blow it. For ice, it depends on how cold it is. When it gets down near zero, salt or other melting agents don't work well. Sand works. Carry a bunch of wood ashes to spread ahead of the drive tires when it gets too icy.
Sand is mostly silica, most common substance on earth's surface, that should be eco friendly enough.
Shoveling is quite eco friendly, if you made the handle out of reclaimed lumber and the blade came from recycled pop cans. I found that properly shod horses didn't mind the snow and ice and they are eco friendly.
Where are you located and how much snow do you get and what is the amount of road surface are you wanting to maintain? Makes a difference.

snowhillfarm 12/20/13 12:00 PM

We're located in North Salem NY, they are unpaved, gravel based roads and they are mostly very steep and quite close to a river so we are trying to minimize damage to the watershed. We just heard of a product called Ecotraction, ever heard/used it?

fishhead 12/20/13 12:15 PM

One thing most people overlook is the impact that trees have on icy roads. We've got roads that are shaded during the middle of the day that stay icy all winter. Removing or trimming the trees on the south side would make it possible for the sun to get rid of the ice.

Warm gravel or sand spread on the road after it's been plowed should melt their way part way down into the ice before refreezing.

Gravytrain 12/20/13 12:18 PM

Hudson River watershed...wasn't there a Seinfeld episode dedicated to this?

painterswife 12/20/13 12:29 PM

You will be far better off cost wise to plow and spread sand when it is too icy.

farmerj 12/20/13 12:37 PM

Don't put salt on a gravel road. It will never freeze and you'll have a soupy road.

big rockpile 12/20/13 12:45 PM

We always plowed and maybe put ashes on but Tire Chains are a big help.

big rockpile

wr 12/20/13 12:58 PM

I'm not sure I understand. I drive on gravel roads in harsh winter conditions and the gravel alone provides traction and prevents the curling rink effect you find on pavement. Putting sand or anything else on the roads will cause the gravel to displace in the spring.

Does your road actually have enough gravel?

painterswife 12/20/13 01:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wr (Post 6870535)
I'm not sure I understand. I drive on gravel roads in harsh winter conditions and the gravel alone provides traction and prevents the curling rink effect you find on pavement. Putting sand or anything else on the roads will cause the gravel to displace in the spring.

Does your road actually have enough gravel?

Snow on top of gravel and then melting creates an ice rink. You always leave a base of snow on gravel roads or you are just peeling away expensive gravel when you plow.

farmerj 12/20/13 01:05 PM

First couple snows we had, I just wheel packed it to protect the gravel. Just for a 60 ft drive, I needed $300 just for a single load of gravel, spread and all.

wr 12/20/13 01:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by painterswife (Post 6870539)
Snow on top of gravel and then melting creates an ice rink. You always leave a base of snow on gravel roads or you are just peeling away expensive gravel when you plow.


We don't plow down to gravel either but gravel moves so even this winter, we still have gravel that floats above the ice. A sheet of ice is actually not as solid as one would believe and as you drive over it, it creates a ribbon effect, much like driving on ice roads.

haypoint 12/20/13 01:09 PM

Ecotraction has sodium in it, like salt. Sand is a sure bet. Long steep driveways in areas with far colder climate and lots more snow get by nicely with regular plowing and applications of sand or gravel.
This your first winter there?
Must seem hopeless when the 50 pounds of rock salt you try to avoid when the cities up river from you spread millions of pounds of salt on their streets that enter storm drains and into the Hudson River. Each year a thousand foot long freighter deposits a mountain of salt, next to the outlet of Lake Superior and surrounding cities use it on their streets and it all ends up in the Great Lakes.
Isn't that salty water in the Hudson going to the ocean?:(

painterswife 12/20/13 01:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wr (Post 6870546)
We don't plow down to gravel either but gravel moves so even this winter, we still have gravel that floats above the ice. A sheet of ice is actually not as solid as one would believe and as you drive over it, it creates a ribbon effect, much like driving on ice roads.

The forest service road to my home is gravel, hard packed as are the roads in my subdivision and my 1000 foot driveway. They are not plowed during the first few snows unless we get over 8 inches. Snow packs down and freezes hard. This is all done on purpose just so we can keep the gravel from being plowed up. As long as we do not have any extreme thaws this is how the roads stay all winter.

Here in the US, they also often "mag" the gravel roads during the spring( magnesium chloride) and this creates a hard packed gravel surface that does not move.

haypoint 12/20/13 01:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wr (Post 6870535)
I'm not sure I understand. I drive on gravel roads in harsh winter conditions and the gravel alone provides traction and prevents the curling rink effect you find on pavement. Putting sand or anything else on the roads will cause the gravel to displace in the spring.

Does your road actually have enough gravel?

Gravel for road use is a mixture of small stones, sand and a bit of clay. Additional sand will not drive away small rocks. Application of gravel in the winter just wears out your plow and puts the gravel in the ditches.
Sand is also used on blacktop roads.

MO_cows 12/20/13 01:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by painterswife (Post 6870539)
Snow on top of gravel and then melting creates an ice rink. You always leave a base of snow on gravel roads or you are just peeling away expensive gravel when you plow.

Does it ever! The gravel road bed doesn't gain as much solar heat as a paved surface. It just gets slushy on top, refreezes over night, and if you have a few consecutive days of this cycle, it gets smoother and slicker every day. Luckily our road is flat, so not sliding too far past the driveway is our biggest problem. But I have seen that phenomenon many times. You get no traction from the gravel, it is under a couple inches of ice.

Sounds like the most "environmentally friendly" solution for the OP is a good set of chains to provide some grip. Trimming back trees to let the sun do its thing can help, but under the wrong set of conditions it does a better job than a zamboni machine of making smooth ice.

Raymond James 12/20/13 01:17 PM

Plow deep snow and use chains on icy gravel roads. Do not uses salt . Use ash and sand only on walkways not on roads.

painterswife 12/20/13 01:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MO_cows (Post 6870563)
Does it ever! The gravel road bed doesn't gain as much solar heat as a paved surface. It just gets slushy on top, refreezes over night, and if you have a few consecutive days of this cycle, it gets smoother and slicker every day. Luckily our road is flat, so not sliding too far past the driveway is our biggest problem. But I have seen that phenomenon many times. You get no traction from the gravel, it is under a couple inches of ice.

Sounds like the most "environmentally friendly" solution for the OP is a good set of chains to provide some grip. Trimming back trees to let the sun do its thing can help, but under the wrong set of conditions it does a better job than a zamboni machine of making smooth ice.

Our road is just like that. 25 degrees and curves and if it warms up to 30-34 and the suns shines, you had better hope it gets down to at least 20 over night or the road is a slip and slide for the morning drive. Luckily I have studs and chains if i need them. I am the first one out in the morning and I call all the neighbors to tell them to wait until I can get the sanding truck up the hill. The company I work for does the plowing and sanding.

wr 12/20/13 01:21 PM

We never add gravel in winter, I was simply wondering is the raid was properly gravelled in the first place. We a very coarse gravel on all county and private roads so it does move throughout the year and perhaps that causes the problem but the acreage people that come out and dump sand on their roads simply end up with a ditch full of gravel.


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