SEARSBURG, Vt. (AP) – An old problem is getting a new treatment here, as state transportation officials experiment with a technology aimed at making roads less slippery in winter.

A steep section of Route 9 is being treated with an automatic road deicing system that authorities hope will reduce the number of accidents and spinouts on snowy days. The technology, which is called SafeLane Surface Overlay, is being installed on a 360-foot section of the road. It’s the first application of the product in New England, officials said. The epoxy is laid on the road with limestone rocks placed on top, followed by de-icer solution. When the road gets wet, the solution mixes with moisture to make the surface easier to navigate.

“The stone acts like a rigid sponge and absorbs anti-icing solution,” said Fitch.

The road will be maintained as normal in winter. When salted, though, the salt will mix with water and recharge the surface with the solution.

It is being applied only to the westbound lane of Route 9 so engineers can compare it with the untreated eastbound lane. Historically, trucks ascending the incline have had problems, with drivers downshifting and then losing traction, allowing trucks to slide backward down the hill, sometimes jackknifing.

“We won’t eliminate (accidents) but we’re hoping to significantly reduce them,” said Anthony Hensley, business development manager for Cargill, Inc., the manufacturer.

Information from: Bennington Banner,

AP-ES-07-13-07 0859EDT