Alaska DOT Experiments with New Tool to Break Highway Ice

Tom Warne Report, 17 December 2013

Associated Press – December 10, 2013

FAIRBANKS, Alaska – Testing is underway in Alaska using a new piece of equipment to crush ice on highways by the Alaska Department of Transportation. The tool is called a Raiko Icebreaker and has already been used for two weeks on Fairbanks roads. Next the tool will go to Anchorage for another two weeks of tests.

“It’s definitely a tool we’re looking forward to using more,” said Dan Schacher, the state Department of Transportation’s maintenance supervisor in Fairbanks. The icebreaker attaches to the front of a plow truck, resembles a long tube and uses rows of metal spikes to crush ice. Schacher said the tool performed well on Fairbanks’ Expressway and other major routes, particularly on thick ice.

“The thinner the ice, it just mixes it up a bit, but the thick ice – it’ll just shatter it,” he said. The cost of the 9-foot-wide, 3,800 pound tool is about $45,000, about twice the cost of regular DOT snow plows.

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