Reality Check: ALDOT changing response to threat of ice after last year's travel nightmare


With ice possible on our roads and bridges, the commute Tuesday could be dangerous.

Last January was a travel nightmare for commuters trying to cross Mobile Bay. Both I-65 and I-10 shut down for hours.

Meanwhile two counties over, officials in Harrison County kept every bridge open by salting the road with tailgate spreaders. ALDOT had not salted the roads. Instead, the agency threw sand down after the fact, which doesn't melt ice.

"That was definitely something we took from that and learned from and so these measures are a bit more proactive than reactive," said ALDOT spokesperson Katelyn Turner.

ALDOT says in reviewing last year's response, this time things will be different.

"This year, we have some new pre-treatments that can be put out on roadways and bridges both in wet and dry conditions that prevent ice and snow from accumulating on the roadway," said Turner.

ALDOT says it will be using Calcium Magnesium Acetate or CMA, a de-icer similar to salt but not corrosive like salt. The department also says it has new equipment this year to help with response.

"We have some plows that can go on the front of dump trucks this year that can scrape ice off the roadways. So, that might come into play in the northern parts of the region, but down here we are mostly looking at the pre-treatments," said Turner.