Resources, Practices and Needs for Weather Forecasting to Facilitate Winter Road Maintenance: Synthesis Report

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Date Created
2020-12
Report Number
CR19-S2
Description
A transportation agency’s ability to deliver effective winter road maintenance combines three essentials: a professional, knowledgeable staff, including trained snowplow operators; a fleet of high quality, well-maintained equipment and appropriate supplies; and, perhaps most important and most difficult to consistently acquire, accurate and timely weather information. Sources of weather information for transportation agencies are many and varied. This synthesis project sought to determine the best practices agencies use to acquire accurate and timely weather information to strategize and deploy equipment for winter road maintenance operations. The project also examined the practices used to convey information about forecasts and road weather conditions between agency offices and operators in the field. Two surveys directed to winter road maintenance practitioners at Clear Roads member agencies gathered information from central office staff and field personnel. Results of a literature search supplement survey findings.

Inventory and Use of Material Spreader Systems: Synthesis Report

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Date Created
2021-01
Report Number
CR19-S1
Description
Material spreader systems are among the largest equipment expenses for winter road maintenance departments. These systems typically include a hopper or similar container to hold a supply of solid granular material; many also include a tank for dispensing a liquid. A chain conveyor or single/double auger system moves the granular material to the spinner, which disperses the material onto the roadway. Agencies often make their spreader purchase decisions after much research, comparison and discussion. This synthesis sought to identify and describe the material spreader systems currently used by Clear Roads member agencies. A national survey of winter maintenance practitioners at state departments of transportation gathered descriptive information about material spreader systems and how they function, assessments of the spreader systems’ operational capacities and effectiveness in a range of weather conditions, and the agencies’ overall satisfaction with the material spreader systems. Supplementing the summary of survey responses in this report are the individual material spreader system descriptions presented in Appendix B. Each system description is presented separately, organized by vendor and in alphabetical order by state, to allow for review and excerpting of individual system assessments.

Mechanic/Operator Training and Training Needs for Winter Maintenance Equipment: Synthesis Report

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Date Created
2020-08
Report Number
CR18-S1
Description
Snowplow trucks operate in extreme conditions that take a toll on engines, wiring, controls, sensors, connectors, augers, conveyors, spinners and other parts exposed to extreme cold, wetness and corrosive materials. Consequently, winter road maintenance equipment may break down on the road. Road maintenance agencies have a range of protocols for dealing with equipment breakdown in the field, including troubleshooting via phone or radio, sending out a mechanic, or towing the truck back to the station. Most agencies would benefit from more training for operators and mechanics that would enable them to more effectively address problems that can result in snowplows breaking down on the road. This synthesis sought to identify the best practices agencies use to deal with breakdown of winter road maintenance equipment in the field; the types of experience sought by agencies in their operators and mechanics; and the maintenance and repair areas where operators and mechanics would benefit from additional focused training. A national survey of winter maintenance practitioners at state departments of transportation gathered information about best practices, common equipment failures, responses to failures, and training approaches for operators and mechanics. The results of a literature search supplemented the survey findings.