New ‘Icephobic’ Coating Trial Planned for Scottish Tunnel

The new icephobic coating was installed in late August 2019, with results to be monitored over the coming winters. Image courtesy of Scotland Transerv.

As part of Transport Scotland’s strategic trunk road management program, roads operator Scotland TranServ (Glasgow, Scotland) recently installed a new “icephobic” surface coating on the M8 Charing Cross tunnel to help tackle the potential for icicles forming under extremely cold temperatures.

According to the roads operator, emergency closures of the trunk road were needed during recent winters to clear the icicles and maintain safety for road users. “The extreme temperatures of recent winters led to a number of issues with icicles forming on the underside of the Charing Cross tunnel,” says Brian Coyle, Scotland TranServ’s assistant network bridges engineer. “On several occasions, it was necessary for our operations team to close the motorway in order to clear the forming ice from the roof and protect the health and safety of drivers.”

The coating was installed over three weeks in late August 2019, in hopes of preventing similar closures during future winters. The name of the coating has yet to be publicly released.

“Following extensive investigations, we’ve identified an icephobic coating to protect the tunnel from icicle formation,” says Brian Laurie, Scotland TranServ’s network bridges manager. “This innovative coating helps to repel ice—or more accurately, prevent ice formation. The technology is already being used to prevent ice build-up on aircraft and wind turbines. We will need to monitor the performance of this coating over a number of winters in order to identify its success, potentially extending its use at other locations.”

Source: Scotland TranServ,