Suffolk motorists see blue

Published 2:16 pm Thursday, February 26, 2015

Motorists who’ve noticed a blue tint to the plowed snow on Suffolk roads weren’t hallucinating or suddenly colorblind.

While public works crews were treating roads with the same brine solution they’ve always used, a coloring agent, similar to food coloring, was added to the recipe for the first time, according to city spokeswoman Diana Klink.

Why? Klink says it allows crews to “visually identify how the treatment was going on and how it was adhering to the roads.”

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“As an added benefit, drivers can see that we are pre-treating and hopefully it will remind them to slow down,” she added.

Klink also says Suffolk has ramped up its pre-treatment capability in the past two or three years. Three brine trucks are on the job this year, she stated, and crews are also mixing their own solution, making treating roads more economical.

According to motorists who reported better road conditions Thursday than is usually the case in Suffolk after a winter storm, the operational changes have made a difference.

“It is our desire to pre-treat all primary roads and bridges before a snow/ice event,” Klink stated. “We were able to do that for this event and I believe that you can see how effective pre-treatment can be.”

“Of course, not all storms allow for pre-treatment,” she added.  “Storms that start out as rain and transition to snow can wash our brine solution off rendering it ineffective.”