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Is there a term for those jagged ice formations on Duluth streets?

It’s probably the worst on Grand Avenue in West Duluth, but above is a shot on Fourth Street in the Central Hillside. You know what it is and obviously it pisses you off, but what is it called? Duluth has probably never experienced it before to an extent worth coming up with a name for it.

A news release today from the city of Duluth refers to it as “caked-on ice.” Is that good enough, or does someone have a better term?

Here’s the full news release

Duluth snow operators chipping away at icy roads with new brine mix

The city of Duluth Maintenance Operations crews have been testing a variety of methods to tackle the caked-on ice from last week’s historic snow storm. Today, they are making some progress using a new brine solution.

The city tested a solution consisting of calcium chloride mixed with a brine solution. The mix has shown to be helpful in these frigid temperatures. Though the city does not stock calcium chloride, it was able to get a hold of a limited quantity. City crews have been out today taking advantage of the warm sun to test the mix. The results are good so far and made even better with the combination of sunshine, constant traffic that breaks up the ice and heats the pavement and immediate follow up with graders and plows.

“Calcium chloride will work in sub-zero temperatures but due to its cost of $800 per ton versus salt at $64 a ton, it is cost prohibitive given the city’s 400 miles of roads. Chloride is a product that works best with sunshine but then refreezes once the sun goes down so we have to work fast. It’s also not readily available. We are using very minimal amounts of chloride and relying mostly on our skilled operators to do the heavy lifting,” said Kelly Fleissner, interim director of public administration.

City crews have been out testing the solution judiciously on the worst ice-caked streets and hilly avenues. The city is continuing to use sand where necessary and is making good progress today, but is aware there is more ground to cover. Rising temperatures will enable crews to restart with a salt/sand mixture.

The city continues to enforce alternate side parking and buried vehicles prevent city crews from finishing plow operations. Motorists are again urged to drive cautiously and be patient.

Clearing city sidewalks and hauling away snow banks are also a priority for the city in the coming weeks.

22 Comment(s)

  1. Let’s do a Kickstarter for one of these:

    Alaska experiments with highway icebreaker

    TimK | Dec 11, 2013 | New Comment
  2. I’d kick in a few bucks for that. Grand Ave is terrible right now.

    Special K | Dec 11, 2013 | New Comment
  3. Excitement-generators.

    mlatsch | Dec 11, 2013 | New Comment
  4. Slip’n'slide.

    Bret | Dec 11, 2013 | New Comment
  5. Gitchee Gumee Glaciers

    Hot Shot | Dec 11, 2013 | New Comment
  6. I would be overly grateful if the Bong Bridge and its entrances/exits could be clear of the “cake.”

    Rae | Dec 11, 2013 | New Comment
  7. My humps. My humps. My lovely 4th street lumps.
    And I worry about all that junk inside my trunk.

    brian | Dec 11, 2013 | New Comment
  8. Street Grease
    -or-
    Stupid Ice

    Ganginator | Dec 11, 2013 | New Comment
  9. I think my three favorite so far have come from Facebook.

    The first two might be too cutesy to describe a thing that is such a nuisance, though, so I’m kind of partial to “road glaciers.”

    On the other hand, it seems like “road glaciers” should be the term for big snowboulders and mudflap breakoffs rather than for a sheet of jagged, three-inch-thick solid slush.

    Paul Lundgren | Dec 11, 2013 | New Comment
  10. I’m sure we could buy a highway icebreaker if we raised taxes, but I’m not sure that would be popular.

    Sam | Dec 11, 2013 | New Comment
  11. I personally like road glaciers but the pros on the radio were calling it cobblestone ice.

    blt2lst | Dec 11, 2013 | New Comment
  12. I see this on pretty much every road other than main highways every year, so I don’t see how one would reckon Duluth hasn’t experienced it to a similar extent (frequently) in the past.

    piker | Dec 11, 2013 | New Comment
  13. Apparently the proper term is indeed “cobblestone ice.” I suppose that makes sense, but it almost sounds pleasant … like it’s laid out all artistically and beautiful. So “road glaciers” is still the best I’ve heard.

    And yes, this does happen every year, but not this severely on main streets. If it did, I’d have been able to pull the term out for it off the top of my vocabulary.

    Paul Lundgren | Dec 11, 2013 | New Comment
  14. Ice-phalt.

    Dave P | Dec 11, 2013 | New Comment
  15. Minnesota Nice-icles.

    DaVe | Dec 12, 2013 | New Comment
  16. Indeed, this one-two combo of three feet of snow and a two week (?) Arctic Death Blast the next day is rare even for Duluth. I’m treating two Californians to their first winters here, and my claims of “usually it’s 20 degrees in December, not -5!” probably aren’t very meaningful.

    piker | Dec 12, 2013 | New Comment
  17. I think my new favorite is “icephalt,” suggested by Dave P. above and Adam Haar via Facebook.

    Paul Lundgren | Dec 12, 2013 | New Comment
  18. I can get behind “icephalt.” I think the “nice-icles” are the mudflap chunks … or maybe those are “iceflaps”?

    jessige | Dec 12, 2013 | New Comment
  19. Snow Cookies: The mudflap ice chunks that come off your vehicle when you hit one the Duluth potholes or a nice patch of cobblestone ice.

    I started using that term after a friend in college used it to refer to chunks of ice from the snow groomer on Spirit Mt where he worked.

    This article mentions “snow cookies” and is from the same time period he mentioned it.

    U.S. women snowboarders see ‘their’ medals slip away Icy ‘snow cookies’ eat up favorites on slopes

    madscientist5580 | Dec 12, 2013 | New Comment
  20. Or we could call that stuff “good intentions.”

    DaVe | Dec 13, 2013 | New Comment
  21. I’ve always heard the mudflap chunks referred to as “road boogers.”

    Barrett Chase | Dec 13, 2013 | New Comment
  22. I came up with a list here:

    A Baker’s Dozen Bicyclist Words for Snow

    William Lindeke | Dec 16, 2013 | New Comment

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