2010 OPERA Projects
Magnesium Chloride Dust Coating Evaluation
Magnesium chloride was applied to a county road to help decrease material and maintenance costs. The application eliminated the need to apply a biennial resurfacing aggregate layer and reduced the need for maintenance blading operations in areas of light traffic.
City of Eagan Automated Vehicle Location
Maintenance managers have historically been challenged to allocate and reallocate resources during winter snow and ice control operations. Equipping the city’ s winter vehicle fleet with automated vehicle location technology allowed managers to observe real-time operations from any computer terminal and adjust resources immediately via telephone and radio communications.
Cushion Release Push Frame and Weight Transfer Kits
One Cushion Release Push Frame and two Weight Transfer Kits were installed on snow blowing and lawn mowing equipment. The Push Frame assisted the tractor-mounted snow blower in continuously scraping the surface being cleared, and the Weight Transfer Kits permitted operators to increase traction by shifting weight to the drive wheels.
Brunswick Township Erosion Control Project
When a tire fill was used to repair an old corduroy road, a silt fence was required between the construction area and a nearby swamp to prevent damaging the wetland. The stabilization fabric beneath the tire fill was extended to the construction limits and attached to stakes, forming a positive erosion control barrier.
Evaluation of Grader Front-Mounted Retriever Hitch
A front-mounted retriever was used on gravel roads and bituminous roads with gravel shoulders, allowing one motor grader to perform reclaiming and blading operations in a single pass. The retriever offered better visibility and prevented most of the reclaimed material from being thrown too far onto the roadway surface.
U.S. National Grid Field Marker Prototyping
The City of St. Paul investigated the methodology and equipment necessary to inexpensively mark infrastructure in the field with U.S. National Grid location data. A system for generating portable markers in the field and a marker-reading application for end users was developed, and smart phones were used to obtain grid locations and drive a printer to create field markers.
GPS/AVL Tracking and Mapping
A low-cost, flexible alternative to traditional automated vehicle location systems was developed using Nokia N900 cellular phones, off-the-shelf Linux-based hardware, and open source tools. The system is designed to help medium and small communities track their mobile assets.
Ultra Guard Cart Test
The Ultra Guard Cart, a handheld device that can paint a 6-inch retro-reflective stripe on vertical surfaces, was used to paint guardrails on several types of curves. The cart was easy to use and adjust for different types of barriers, and paint stripes applied by the cart have shown less vulnerability to damage.