ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - The New York State Thruway Authority has a plan to 'beet' slick and dangerous road conditions this winter with an innovative de-icing mix.
In addition to the usual rock salt to aid in ice melt and to help give drivers traction, the state will also use an anti-icing mix of sugar beet juice and brine to pre-treat roadways.
State officials announced Tuesday that the mix will be used throughout the state's 570-mile superhighway system. The beet juice and brine mixture has been an effective pre-treatment to prevent icing in recent years, according to Thruway officials.
The Thruway Authority said more than 600 employees using plows, salt spreaders and other snow removal equipment are ready to deploy at the first sight of winter weather conditions.
Officials also said the use of the beet juice-brine mix can be used to pre-treat roadways during normal work hours, which will in turn reduce the need for overtime staffing.
Thruway officials estimate crews will use roughly 180,000 tons of rock salt and 50,000 gallons of the beet brine mixture, along with 175,000 gallons of salt brine during the 2012-2013 winter season.
"Motorists throughout New York State and beyond know that they can depend on Thruway staff to maintain safe driving conditions, even in tough winter weather conditions," said Thruway Authority Chairman Howard Milstein in a release Tuesday. "Using the beet brine mixture to pre-treat roadways is just one example of how the Thruway Authority maintains one of America's safest and most reliable superhighways even as we find new and better ways to control costs."
Officials urge drivers to ensure their cars are properly maintained ahead of the cold winter weather.
In addition, Thruway officials and state police encourage motorists to keep gas tanks half full at all times, remove all ice and snow from windows and vehicle surfaces before starting to drive and keep an emergency kit in the car.
"Troop T will be out in full force making sure the wintry roads are safe for our motorists," said State. Police Troop T Sgt. Thomas Ferritto. "It is crucial that all motorists understand the importance of remaining alert and driving safely through all conditions. Troop T routinely patrols the Thruway on a regular basis and has radio communication with all necessary resources."
Officials also recommend drivers pay attention to weather reports and plan trips carefully based on conditions and stay alert during winter weather.
During inclement weather, officials said motorists will be advised of closures and delays through electronic signboards along the Thruway, TRANSalerts, and the Thruway Highway Advisory Radio (HAR). The HAR stations broadcast traffic advisories, road conditions, and safety tips to travelers 24-hours-a-day.
HAR is available on the following frequencies: New York City and Tappan Zee Bridge Corridor - 530 AM; Utica area - 540 AM; Newburgh, Kingston, Albany, Rochester and Buffalo areas - 1610 AM; Little Falls/Herkimer, Syracuse, Lafayette, Waterloo/Geneva - 1620 AM; Ripley - 98.7 FM.
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