Saskatoon is set to test drive an alternate deicing method.

In the coming weeks, the city will be experimenting with wood chips on snowy roads.

Saskatoon is modelling the idea after Switzerland – where wood chips are claimed to be more environmentally friendly than salt and not cause dust like gravel.

“The first portion of the trial will be on some unopened roads, likely in new residential areas,” said Brandon Harris, the city’s director of roadways and operations.

The city will assess the wood chips’ retention in the snow and whether it provides the same traction as sand.

“We have an abundance of woodchips, we have a compost depot that’s absolutely full of them. So if there’s a way we can use them to our benefit, everyone wins,” Harris said.

If the wood chips pass the test in the closed area, Harris said the city will trial the wood chips in an area with “real traffic” – which is estimated to happen in January.