Update 21:20 Bern, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) – The proverbial sweet tooth could soon be replaced by sweet wheels in Switzerland, the kind that roll along sugar-covered highways. Authorities in canton Bern have confirmed that they have been using a liquid sugar-based product instead of salt on the A6 autoroute between Rubigen and Spiez, in a two-year test programme that is going well, canton Bern roads supervisor Martin Roesti told GenevaLunch.
The product being used is made by a British company, Safecote, and is manufactured in Italy. Parts of the US, Canada, Norway and Iceland use the liquid sugar on their roads. Switzerland is testing it, says Roesti, because at lower temperatures it is more effective than salt chloride. It is also less aggressive and doesn’t lead to potholes the way salt does.
“From -10 to -40C it works better,” Roesti notes, and it is thus a useful complement to plowing and salting icy roads when temperatures drop.
The product is about 10 percent more expensive, he says, but the more highway departments that use it, the more the cost will drop.
Switzerland stores 64,000 tons of road salt at the start of winter, using 5-20 grams of salt per square metre of road, for a total of 8-40 tons of salt per kilometre over the course of a winter, depending on the severity of the weather, according to the federal highway department.