Drill Lines

The following is a guest post written by Vic Saunders. Vic is the Public Involvement Manager for all of Northern Utah including Box Elder, Cache, Davis, Morgan, Rich and Weber Counties.

Throughout the fall, winter and spring we get asked regularly at UDOT, “What are these lines on the highway?” Some people wonder if they were caused when some kind of machinery was dragged down the road and left these lines in the pavement. Others wonder if it is some new kind of lane striping.

The truth is, these lines are known as “Drill Lines.” They are evidence that your local UDOT maintenance team has been out on the roadway preparing for an approaching winter storm. When UDOT weather forecasters tell us that a winter storm approaching the Beehive State is about 72 hours away, our maintenance crews hit the roads and spray a brine solution on the roadway. This solution helps prevent the snow from forming ice and sticking to the asphalt or concrete road surface like glue. If that happens, it is very difficult to remove and can be a factor in traffic movement and other incidents during and after the storm.

As the snow begins to fall, the moisture in it interacts with the brine solution sprayed on the road, and a liquid barrier is formed. This saline barrier helps prevent ice formation until our snow plows can get out there and plow it all away.

And what about those Drill Lines? The lines are sprayed on the roadway by the trucks laying down this brine solution. They are an indicator to the driver of the spraying vehicle that the spraying process is going well, and that the spray nozzles are working properly.

So, now you know! Those lines on the road are just further evidence that UDOT is working hard to make sure the roads are safe for Utah drivers.


  1. Timothy Craig

    I’ve been told the brine used on the roads in NY is a byproduct from natural gas drilling. Is this true? Also, I notice each time this brine is applied to the road I get a sore throat. Has this product been reviewed by FDA, EPA and DEC?

  2. Zach Whitney

    Timothy. We can’t speak to what New York DOT uses on their roadways. We use a salt brine to pre-treat for ice on state roads. In some higher elevations, crews will also use potassium acetate to prevent ice.

  3. Dee

    They need to let people know that their brine solution, which doesnt work very well in my opinion, is very corrosive to the metal on their vehicles that they have worked so hard for.
    I lived in the northern US for over 20 yrs and cars would have huge rust holes in them from using salt or brine. Rust will start forming on hard to wash areas on your car or rock chips in your paint. When the brine solution becomes liquified your vehicle is being showered with salt water…..GREAT!
    Thought I escaped this by moving south…..GUESS NOT!
    Despite all of this effort, the roads still get cover and packed with ice and the black ice is still out there.

  4. Glenn Chapman

    We have warm weather here in Killeen, Tx. I decided to wash my 6 month old black truck, once it dried it now has dried oily streaks all over it. Any suggestions on removing this? I’m going to go buy some good was and spend the day waxing and see if that helps. I don’t like this brine chemical that has been applied to the roads. I believe there is a byproduct in there as one posted earlier.

  5. Glenn Chapman

    I realize this is Utah website but was hoping someone could give some advice on this product, Texas could care less with all the good ole boy system/ corruption.Thanks

  6. Nathan T

    Glenn my wife and I are actually driving right now to temple and was wondering bc we live in killeen as well.i dont recall the stripes when it was bad awhile back.now it’s chilly and thousands of dollars are dumped…

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