From: Philip St. George, thenorthbaybay.ca staff
NORTH BAY — Citing the rising cost of road salt and environmental concerns, area snowplows are now using Skittles to maintain winter highways at milder temperatures.
Drew Strickland is the head of Ferronial Services, the contractor responsible for clearing local highways.
“We were just as skeptical as anyone with the initiative,” says Strickland, “but it works. Skittles consist of a hard shell which shatter when frozen and create grit. The citric acid inside also helps break down pre-existing ice and prevents build-up when the temperature drops.”
Invented in 1974, Skittles are a hard candy that comes in a variety of colours and flavours, including Tropical, Wild Berry, Dessert, Sweet Heat and Sour.
“As far as I know, our plows are using Original Recipe Skittles,” says Strickland.
Ferronial Services is a company that “values innovative, cost-efficient, and sustainable solutions,” explains Strickland.
“I believe using Skittles is innovative and sustainable, and it is very cost-efficient. The current price for road salt is $57.71 per ton, whereas the current price for Skittles is $43.96 per ton.”
“That’s a lot of money the taxpayer is saving.”
While the project has proven “fruitful and flavourful,” Strickland says there have been “a few bumps in the road.”
“Originally, we wanted to use mints because they shatter better, but they were cost prohibitive. Then, we tried using Mentos, but that proved disastrous. Someone threw a can of Coke out the window and we lost half a kilometer of Highway 63.”
So the company settled on Skittles.
“It’s been great so far,” smiles Strickland. “They’re effective. Our only current concern is the deer population, which appears to have become addicted to them. They’re getting bolder. Too bold, really. After the last attack we thought about arming our men.”
“But I don’t think we’ll have to do that. Yet.”