February 2019 Vol. 7, No. 2

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Plowing intersections and interchanges: training materials

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Clear Roads researchers gathered information about plowing 10 different types of intersections and interchanges and identified best practices. They then developed a complete set of training materials, including a video (with clearing animations), a manual, and reference cards.

Survey respondents from 21 states evaluated and commented on proposed plow paths, techniques, and equipment for clearing snow from 10 road layouts:

      1. Roundabout intersection
      2. Four-leg intersection
      3. Displaced left-turn intersection
      4. Median U-turn intersection
      5. Double roundabout interchange
      6. Diamond interchange
      7. Cloverleaf interchange with C/D lanes
      8. Single-point interchange
      9. Diverging diamond interchange
      10. Directional T interchange.

The primary training tool researchers created is a 66-minute video with a chapter menu directing to each geometry type. The video sequences include detailed animated sequences for each configuration, showing plow trucks following specific plow paths to clear the roads.

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Tailgate Talks: materials for agency training

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The Training Resources Workgroup of the National LTAP Association developed Tailgate Safety Briefing Packages for agencies to use in periodic safety talks with their crews. Topics include cold-weather precautions and staying fit for snowfighting.

Talks are intended to be short and focused so that, over time and together with existing practices and policies, they help build a culture of safety within local agencies.

The training packages are targeted toward a broad array of public works equipment and practices. Typically, they cover the dangers or risks, some best safety practices, and some statistics. Case studies from OSHA or elsewhere are sometimes included.

The Tailgate Talks web page has instructions for local agencies, tips for giving talks, and links to downloadable materials on more than 25 topics.

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Infrastructure vulnerability: preparing for extreme weather

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A manual from the Federal Highway Administration—Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Framework—helps transportation agencies and their partners assess the vulnerability of transportation infrastructure and systems to extreme weather and climate effects. It also can help agencies integrate climate-adaptation considerations into transportation decision-making.

The manual is geared toward state DOTs, metropolitan planning organizations, and other agencies involved in planning, building, maintaining, or operating transportation infrastructure.

The framework provides an in-depth and structured process for conducting a vulnerability assessment. It features examples from assessments conducted nationwide between 2010 and 2017.

One of the assessments was a pilot project by MnDOT that examined the effects of climate hazards on MnDOT assets in District 1 and District 6. Based on the results of the pilot study, MnDOT established its own framework for assessing the vulnerability of statewide MnDOT assets and adaptation measures.

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Minnesota truck-weight calculator part of 2019 classes

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The truck-weight calculator for Minnesota regulations, similar to the North Dakota version, is now operational for legal weights. It is being introduced in the 2019 truck-weight education classes.

“We prefer users have the classroom demonstration on the use of the calculator before going to the website, as there are idiosyncrasies that should be explained to get the correct weights,” explains Greg Hayes, instructor and developer of Minnesota’s original truck-weight training program.

Future development of the calculator is being discussed for weights on restricted roads and for weights authorized by a permit from state or local road authorities. “That is still a work in progress,” Hayes says.

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FHWA offers assistance to deploy innovation

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The Federal Highway Administration offers technical assistance, training, and incentives to help the highway community adopt innovations—including those in Every Day Counts round five (EDC-5)—and make them standard practice.

Multidisciplinary teams of experts are available to provide technical assistance and training to help state and local agencies adopt the 10 innovations in EDC-5. Topics range from project bundling to collaborative hydraulics.

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APWA introduces tools to aid in hiring decisions

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The American Public Works Association (APWA) has introduced new tools to help public works agencies and HR departments make more effective hiring decisions: a salary calculator and a compensation report.

APWA compiled salary and benefit data from more than 2,600 public works professionals in the public sector to document current trends in public works compensation packages.

The public works salary calculator allows users to create customized aggregations of the survey results. Users can compare salaries by region, title, staff size, years of experience, and more.

The 2018 APWA Public Works Compensation Report includes complete and accurate compensation data on professionals working in all aspects of public works. The report is designed to allow agencies and individuals to compare their compensation levels to their peers.

Users may also bundle purchases for a reduced cost.

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