Road crews begin treating pavement in the metro in advance of snow

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GRANDVIEW, Mo. -- Grandview crews are spraying a pre-wetting material known as "beet juice."

The idea is to break the bond between the roadway surface and any snow or ice that may accumulate.

Public works crews began treating their bridge decks Monday.

The beet juice organic solution is environmentally friendly. The public works director says it does a good job of melting snow and ice, especially when ground temperatures remain above freezing.

Dennis Randolph says pavement temperatures didn't drop below 37 degrees Monday night, and that helps make it easier to battle an early season snowfall.

"That much heat in the ground, combined with the pre-wet material, actually they work together," Randolph said. "They melt the snow as it comes down. That’s one of the things you want, you want that free water out there as more precipitation comes because it helps to melt more precipitation."

Grandview has 800 tons of rock salt on hand, enough for a normal winter. But salt is more expensive, and the city hopes it won't need to use it so early in the season.

Of course, the big concern is how many leaves are still on the trees. Any snow accumulation will add a lot of weight, causing branches to break. Many folks here remember the "October Surprise" of 1996 as the worst case scenario. People lost electricity service for nearly a week in that storm.

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In Kansas City, Public Works said it's been preparing for these conditions since the summer.

They've got five salt facilities throughout the city with about 37,000 tons of salt. Early Wednesday morning they'll have crews out getting to the elevated surfaces, like bridges and overpasses. Right now, they're on stand by.

"These early storms can tend to be mostly guess work. You're going to start out with rain so you can't do any pre-treating. Is that rain going to change into freezing rain? Is it going to change to sleet? Is it going to change to snow?" Greg Bolon said.

Some advice for Wednesday: With possible slick roads, you'll want to leave about early. Also, leave plenty of room between your car and the vehicle in front of you when driving.

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