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winter weather

Winter Weather: Beet the cold

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We got the beet! The unassuming sugar beet makes a big difference when it comes to battling winter weather.

MoDOT uses Beet juice, when mixed with salt brine, help the salt brine work at lower temperatures to treat icy or snow packed surfaces.

Did you know?:

  • The sugar beet is of course used to make table sugar as well as feed for cattle.
  • The product we use is a by product of the process that makes the sugar for our tables. It is a result of a fermentation process that extracts the sugar crystals leaving the juice behind.
  • Beet juice has been proven to lessen the corrosive properties of the salt that we use to apply to the roads.
  • Beet juice cost are relative the same as calcium at $1.70-$1.85 per gallon.
  • We use a mixture of 80% salt brine and 20% beet juice in most areas.
  • Beet juice and salt brine will work at temps approaching zero but with the addition of calcium we can theoretically achieve a little lower temperature before freezing occurs.
  • We store around 30,000 gallons of beet juice/brine mix to be used at a moment’s notice. 


  • The beet juice actually needs salt brine to melt ice. 


  • At 30 degrees, one pound of salt will melt 46.3 pounds of ice, but at 0 degrees, the same pound of salt will melt just 3.7 pounds of ice.


  • Regular water-based salt brine works well until 25 degrees.


  • Beet juice is added to the mix between 25 degrees and 5 degrees.


  • Calcium chloride added to the mix between 5 degrees and -10 degrees.

Additional helpful links:

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