2017–2018 OPERA Projects
Otter Plow Cushion
The Otter Tail County Highway Department created this device to absorb the shock of rough roads on the snowplow assembly and lift chains, improving ride quality and reducing the failure of the plow lift chains and parts.
Evaluating Pickle Brine for Ice Control
Carver County Public Works maintenance operations staff are searching for new options to reduce the amount of chloride that reaches our waters from road salt operations. Using food production byproducts such as pickle brine are among the alternatives maintenance staff have been exploring.
Pollinator Habitat Along Roadsides
Washington County public works staff, in collaboration with the Washington Conservation District, are testing four different methods of site preparation and seeding to determine which is the most effective and efficient way to increase floral resources for pollinators along roadsides.
Retrofitting Bridge Approach Transition Curbs
To address the problem of washout erosion along the wing walls of bridges, the Jackson County Public Works Department developed a bridge approach transition curb that has been included on all new bridge construction for the last 10 years. In this project, the county developed a process for adding the feature to older bridges, including the design and fabrication of reusable custom metal forms.
Biobased Sealant for Bridge Decks
Most bridge sealants are quite toxic and contain many compounds that can be dangerous. The City of Hutchinson wanted a more environmentally friendly and operator-friendly option for sealing bridge decks. In this project, the city tested an Opti-SEAL™ product from BioSpan Technologies that is 90% biobased.
Project Management with BrightWork
Carver County Public Works uses Microsoft Project® to manage construction project schedules, but only for large projects. MS Project requires training and is cumbersome for smaller projects. Staff were looking for a project management software scalable to a project’s size and scope, so the department purchased, installed, and tested BrightWork, a project management add-on for Microsoft SharePoint.
Pavement Management Software Evaluation
St. Louis County Public Works is piloting a new system to better manage its paved highways. StreetSaver is cloud-based pavement management application that allows use in multiple environments, along with an option to export data for in-house analysis. The mapping portion of the application is much more user-friendly with more available features and functionality than ICON, the software currently used to manage the paved road system in St. Louis County.