It has always amazed me how this country can grind to a halt when a small amount of snow falls from the heavens. Records have shown, the most severe of winters with record highs of snowfall was 1947, where from January 22nd to March 17th, snow fell every day, somewhere in the UK. The temperatures rarely rose more than a degree or 2 above freezing. Several of these snowfalls were of 60cm or more, with some depths of level-snow reaching 1.5 meters (150cm) in Upper Teesdale and the Denbighshire Hills.
We in the UK have not seen these kinds of snowfall since that date. I am not saying that snow on our nations roads is not disruptive, it can cause real problems, but it has always amazed me how no-one seems to be prepared for it, including the government agencies.
Since the severe shortages of road-salt last year (so the government agencies said) they have increased their orders this year in case we get the same levels of snowfall.
Idea #3 : Heated Roads
Despite the efforts of government agencies ploughing and salting the roads, our roads never seem to be clear of snow and ice during the winter. I have often thought that there must be a better way to keep our roads clear of snow, ice and frost in the winter so I thought of having heated coils embedded in our roads is the answer.
When sections of roads are laid, why can we not put a simple heated coil, similar to those used in underfloor heating in homes:
Even if the government undertook my previous idea, these coils could be wired up to our streetlamps and be switched on at key times during the winter or when the temperature drops below a certain level, meaning that any ice, frost or snow is removed from the roads and they are safer to drive on.
After some further research I have found there is a UK based company called ICAX which is already using what they call :
ICAX™ Solar Road Systems – which clear the ice and snow from roads using under road heating or IHT (Interseasonal Heat Transfer) which captures surplus heat from the summer sunshine, stores it in ThermalBanks™ in the ground and releases it to heat buildings or roads in winter.
A black tarmac road in full sunshine will often reach 15°C higher than the ambient air temperature. ICAX captures this free energy in summer (reducing the peak temperature at the surface) and returns the heat in winter.
So why is this method not being adopted by our local councils?
That is Idea #3. Please leave your comments below and let me know what you think, or let me have your ideas of alternatives.