Gritters deployed to fight melting asphalt

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No image availableNL Times

Gritters in the summer seem to be an unusual sight, but one that is happening in the Netherlands this week. A number of Dutch municipalities deployed gritters to sprinkle salt against melting asphalt, ANP reports.

Over the past few hot days, gritters were spotted in Arnhem, Groningen, Hoorn and Geldermalsen, among others. Arnhem monitors the temperature of its road surfaces with sensors. Late on Tuesday, the road surface was 50 degrees Celsius. "That's the time for us to start gritting. If the heatwave persists, the gritters will be visible more often", a spokesperson for the municipality said to the news wire. 

The hot weather means that asphalt is becoming soft in some places, especially at junctions, where traffic pulls the asphalt off the road surface. Sprinkling salt helps prevent this. The salt absorbs moisture from the air and cools the asphalt. The salt also removes moisture from the asphalt itself, making it less sticky.