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Ice Ban test botched

December 31, 1997

Ice Ban test botched


Staff Writer

Steve Davis had been waiting for the first real snowstorm of the season to test Ice Ban, a new anti-skid product, on Interstate 81.

That snowstorm moved into the area Monday, but the Maryland State Highway Administration engineer will have to wait for the next snowfall to test the product because a private contractor inadvertently spread salt over the new mix.

"The first two hours looked very promising," Davis said of the performance of the greenish soybean/corn mix that smells like molasses.


The test area for Ice Ban was the northbound and southbound lanes of I-81 from Halfway Boulevard to the Pennsylvania line, Davis said.

"Regular salt was then applied to the north and southbound lanes of I-81 from Halfway Boulevard to Williamsport so we could compare the difference in effectiveness,'' Davis said.

One of the private contractors working for the SHA during snow removal operations spread salt over the Ice Ban test strip, thus skewing the test results, Davis said.

Davis said he was confident that Ice Ban will prove itself the next time snow flies.

Ice Ban was "created" by accident from an agricultural by-product, Davis said.

Farmers who store corn, soybeans and other crops in silos as food for their farm animals noticed that the "juices" seeping from the silos kept ice from forming on the ground, Davis said.

From that came Ice Ban, which is then mixed with salt and has the advantage of being cheaper, more environmentally friendly and more effective at lower temperatures than pure salt, Davis said.

Pennsylvania transportation officials also plan to test the product in a pilot program this winter.

They said they will expand an anti-icing program that showed positive results last year.

Ice Ban is distributed by EastCo Services, a division of Castlebar Industries.

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