Saskatchewan winters tend to bring out the salty language — but in future there could be more of the material used on Regina roads, too.

The City of Regina is experimenting with "liquid salt" — a strong brine solution — to make icy roads less slippery.

"Right now we're in the testing phase," Chris Warren, the city's manager of winter maintenance, told CBC News.

Currently, it's mostly sand that gets put on the roads after snowstorms. Typically, the city uses a mixture of 94 per cent sand and six per cent solid salt.

Icy roads in Regina

The city uses sand to control icy roads, often with a small amount of solid salt (six per cent) added in. It's now experimenting with adding liquid salt to the mix to help the mixture adhere to the roads better. (CBC)

But at extremely low temperatures, in the –20s or –30s, for example, the sand mixture doesn't stick very well. In fact, some 40 per cent of it just gets blown away.

The pilot project involves "pre-wetting" the sand with brine as it goes out the sanding truck. 
"It immediately makes the sand stick to the road," Warren said.

It takes a special truck to spray out the liquid salt the same time as the sand. The city has one right now, but may purchase more, depending on how the pilot goes.

Meanwhile, putting more salt on the roads appears to have benefits, but there are some possible drawbacks as well.
"Salt does aid in the corrosion of metals," Warren said. "This will be part of the analysis."