Puck-sized devices warn of black ice

| Monday, December 05, 2005

Canada is hoping to score with new technology that warns of black ice on the roadways.

Each sensor is the size of a hockey puck, and once embedded in pavement, turns red when the road temperature reaches the freezing point. The color change signals road crews to switch to chemical road treatments.

Canada has other black-ice warning systems, but they are costly compared to the approximate cost of $20 per puck, as reported in the Toronto Star.

The sensors are manufactured by Traction Technologies in Kamloops, British Columbia, and are part of a pilot project in Toronto, Peel, Whitby, Windsor, Niagara and Waterloo regions of Ontario; Calgary; Edmonton, Alberta; and the highway departments in British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

The pucks, according to the Star article, can be calibrated for lower temperatures, including the mark of about 16 degrees Fahrenheit, when regular road salt becomes ineffective. Most highway departments switch to chemical road treatments under those conditions.

The goal of the pilot project is to net a few cost savings and improve safety.

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