AASHTO Liaison
Rick Nelson, SICOP Coordinator
rnelson@aashto.org

Have you ever been part of one of those conversations that you wished others could have been in on too? The SICOP Talks Winter Ops podcast is just that opportunity to listen in on thought provoking conversations with experts and practitioners who have walked the walk.  Devoted to all things winter maintenance and road weather related, our guests and topics range from practical to academic, tactical to strategic, and the folks who get the job done.
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Episode 97: Where’s the snowplow

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Whenever you mix snowplows, winter storms, and motorists on the same stretch of pavement everyone needs to be at the top of their game in vehicles equipped for conditions. Most…

Episode 96: Shaken not stirred – the rocker ice melting test method

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When it comes to liquid deicing products how do you know you’re getting what you paid for and that it’s likely to perform as promised? The Nebraska DOT has been…

Episode 95: Help is on the way

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There’s lots of discussion going on these days regarding artificial intelligence or AI. Like it or not you’re probably using or at least taking advantage of AI applications right now…

Episode 94: 2nd Chances

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Public works agencies have struggled for years recruiting and retaining a skilled workforce. These challenges have reached critical levels for many agencies since the pandemic. In this episode were Talkin’…

Episode 93: It’s not just a job

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Part 3 of our workforce recruiting and retention series showcases a grass roots program the Washington State DOT launched a few years back to encourage high school students to consider…

Episode 92: Why’s that snowplow pink?

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Part 2 of the workforce series focuses on the No Boundaries synthesis Innovation strategies in Recruiting and Retention with Sandi Sauter, Deputy Director of Operations for the Maryland State Highway…

Episode 91: This ain’t your Dad’s workforce

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The topic of workforce, recruiting, and retention has dominated the discussion for years, but nowadays the issue seems particularly acute. In Part 1 of a 4 part series on workforce…

Episode 90: Where’s SICOP

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Introducing the transformation of SICOP to the AASHTO Winter Weather Management Technical Service Program and SICOP Talks Winter Ops to Talkin Winter Ops.  With the re-branding of SICOP we're re-branding…

Episode 89: It’s about the speed

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There’s a lot of ways we use salt in winter operations from solids to pre-wet, brines straight up or blended, and combinations of all of the above.  regardless how you…

Episode 88: 4th National Briefing – Northwest Passage

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4th National Briefing on Winter Maintenance and Road Weather give organizations working in the severe weather and maintenance operations space an opportunity to showcase their recent efforts to advance the…

Episode 87: 4th National Briefing – No Boundaries

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4th National Briefing on Winter Maintenance and Road Weather give organizations working in the severe weather and maintenance operations space an opportunity to showcase their recent efforts to advance the…

Episode 86: 4th National Briefing – FHWA’s Road Weather Management Program

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4th National Briefing on Winter Maintenance and Road Weather give organizations working in the severe weather and maintenance operations space an opportunity to showcase their recent efforts to advance the…

Episode 85: 4th National Briefing – PSA

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4th National Briefing on Winter Maintenance and Road Weather give organizations working in the severe weather and maintenance operations space an opportunity to showcase their recent efforts to advance the…

Episode 84: 4th National Briefing – APWA

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4th National Briefing on Winter Maintenance and Road Weather give organizations working in the severe weather and maintenance operations space an opportunity to showcase their recent efforts to advance the…

Episode 83: 4th National Briefing – AMS

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4th National Briefing on Winter Maintenance and Road Weather give organizations working in the severe weather and maintenance operations space an opportunity to showcase their recent efforts to advance the…

Episode 82: PIARC Winter Service

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4th National Briefing on Winter Maintenance and Road Weather give organizations working in the severe weather and maintenance operations space an opportunity to showcase their recent efforts to advance the…

Episode 81: TRB Road Weather Committee

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4th National Briefing on Winter Maintenance and Road Weather give organizations working in the severe weather and maintenance operations space an opportunity to showcase their recent efforts to advance the…

Episode 80: TRB Winter Maintenance Committee

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4th National Briefing on Winter Maintenance and Road Weather give organizations working in the severe weather and maintenance operations space an opportunity to showcase their recent efforts to advance the…

Episode 79: 4th National Briefing – MDSS

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4th National Briefing on Winter Maintenance and Road Weather give organizations working in the severe weather and maintenance operations space an opportunity to showcase their recent efforts to advance the…

Episode 78: 4th National Briefing – Aurora

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4th National Briefing on Winter Maintenance and Road Weather give organizations working in the severe weather and maintenance operations space an opportunity to showcase their recent efforts to advance the…

Episode 77: 4th National Briefing – Clear Roads

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4th National Briefing on Winter Maintenance and Road Weather give organizations working in the severe weather and maintenance operations space an opportunity to showcase their recent efforts to advance the…

Episode 76: 4th National Briefing – Winter Weather Management Technical Service Program – SICOP

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4th National Briefing on Winter Maintenance and Road Weather give organizations working in the severe weather and maintenance operations space an opportunity to showcase their recent efforts to advance the…

Episode 75: 4th National Briefing – Maintenance Operations Technical Working Group

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4th National Briefing on Winter Maintenance and Road Weather give organizations working in the severe weather and maintenance operations space an opportunity to showcase their recent efforts to advance the…

Episode 74: 4th National Briefing – Introduction

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4th National Briefing on Winter Maintenance and Road Weather give organizations working in the severe weather and maintenance operations space an opportunity to showcase their recent efforts to advance the…

Episode 73: The MODOT Management System – The next generation

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When your agency is responsible for vast amounts of infrastructure and performs hundreds of activities with thousands of employees having a robust management information system is imperative. On this episode…

Episode 72: Designing in salt reduction

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Management of salt and salt reduction isn’t solely on the shoulders of maintenance operations. In many cases salt use is necessary to address problematic areas that maybe could have been…

Episode 71: Alternate fuels for winter maintenance – Part 2

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As soon as that first snow plow was attached to a horse drawn wagon folks have been looking a other fuels to accomplish the winter maintenance mission for a variety…

Episode 70: Alternate fuels for winter maintenance – Part 1

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As soon as that first snowplow was attached to a horse drawn wagon officials have been looking at other fuels to accomplish the winter maintenance mission for a variety of…

Episode 69: TRB International Road Weather and Winter Maintenance Conference

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Every 4 years the Transportation Research Board sponsors an International Road Weather and Winter Maintenance Conference where winter maintenance professionals gather to learn about emerging technologies, new strategies, the latest…

Episode 68: Friction – The holy grail of successful winter maintenance

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For over 40 years we have sought after a measure of friction during winter events to determine if additional treatments were required. Over the decades the science, sensors, and computing…

Episode 67: Potholes and other leftovers from winter storms

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Just because a winter storm is over and mobility restored doesn’t necessarily mean that your done with the impacts of weather. Moisture and water leftover from winter combined with freezing…

Episode 66: Implementing snow and ice control performance measures

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NCHRP Project Report 889 details Performance Measures in Snow and Ice Control Operations.  Caleb Dobbins, SICOP Chair from New Hampshire DOT (retired), is working to move the material presented in…

Episode 65: Back to school – The Purdue Road School Conference and Expo

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Knowledge transfer plays a critical role in advancing the state of the practice and conferences and expositions play an important role in knowledge transfer. The Purdue Road School Conference and…

Episode 64: Implementing something new – overcoming the challenges

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Everyday folks out there are coming up with better ways to do business.  It might be a mechanic coming up with fix to solve a problem for an operator  -…

Episode 63: Introducing the next generation to DOTs and highway maintenance

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On this episode we are going to introduce you to three programs designed to introduce K-12 students to a variety of science and engineering concepts used by DOTs and highway…

3rd National SICOP-Maintenance Operations Briefing

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SICOP and the Maintenance Operations Technical Working Group of the AASHTO Maintenance Committee join forces for the 3rd year to present this National briefing of winter maintenance, road weather, and…

Episode 62: Keeping the paperwork flowing while the snow plows are rolling at the Rhode Island DOT

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Maintenance operations adapted quickly in lots of ways we never thought we could due to the pandemic. On this episode we’re visiting with Joe Bucci, State Highway Maintenance Operations Engineer…

Episode 61: Winter maintenance and road weather in Arizona

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Usually, when you mention winter maintenance and road weather the mind conjures up images of those northern states where winter comes in October and hangs around till April. but there…

Episode 60: You’re not alone out there: Crowdsourcing for winter maintenance

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Listen in as SICOP Talks Winter Ops with Randi Feltner, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Road Weather Program Manager about crowd sourcing in Kentucky. In 2014 the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet began a…

Episode 59: Modeling road network conditions during weather events – IMRCP

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Listen in as SICOP Talks Winter Ops with Tony Coventry of the FHWA’s Road Weather Management Program and Kyle Garrett of Synesis Partners about the Integrated Modeling for Road Condition…

Episode 58: The Wisconsin salt brine project

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SICOP Talks WInter Ops with Andrea Bill from the Wisconsin Traffic Operations and Safety Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin, Madison as she discusses the latest research into use of…

Episode 57: Keep your snowplow in service through defensive driving

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When a snowplow is involved in a crash there can be injuries to drivers and other motorists as well as damage to the snowplow that can take it out of…

Episode 56: Winter operations is more than salt and snowplows

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Maintenance operations during extreme events is far more complex than salt and snowplows.  Historically we thought of the motorist as a consumer of maintenance’s efforts but in reality they are…

Episode 55: Calgary 2022 What’s in it for me – The technical program

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The 16th PIARC World Winter Service and Road Resilience Congress is just around the corner.  Being able to exchange knowledge and learn from winter service and road resilience professionals from…

Episode 54: Calgary-Adapting to winter service challenges

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The City of Calgary, Alberta, Canada has had to adapt to a variety of circumstances from changing weather patterns to changes in mobility needs and travel patterns brought on by…

Episode 53: Winter maintenance in the Chinook City – Calgary

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In 2022 winter maintenance professionals from around the world will be focusing their attention on Calgary, Alberta, Canada, host of the World Winter Service and Road Resilience Congress.  In this…

Episode 52: 16th World Winter Service Congress is coming to Calgary in 2022

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Back in 1969 Permanent International Association of Road Congresses or PIARC held a World Winter Maintenance Congress in Berchtesgaden, Germany.  Reuniting every 4 years in a different country, winter maintenance…

Episode 51: PIARC Winter Service Technical Committee: What’s in it for me?

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You might not know that there is an International Winter Maintenance committee that mirrors SICOP. The Permanent International Association of Road Congresses (PIARC) houses a Winter Service Technical Committee Winter…

Episode 50: The year in review

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SICOP has been busy this past year and on this episode Steve Lund, State Maintenance Engineer for the Minnesota DOT and Chair of SICOP spends some time filling us in…

Episode 49: 6 Summertime projects for winter maintenance

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For those of us in the business of winter operations there are 2 seasons, winter and getting ready for winter. In this episode we’re visiting with Paul Brown of Road…

Episode 48: Not all pavements are equal when it comes to winter maintenance

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Not all pavements are equal when it comes to winter maintenance. Different pavements and pavement designs respond differently to winter maintenance strategies. A recent research project looked at the various…

Episode 47: Public Affairs, a key ingredient for successful winter operations

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When it comes to winter operations it’s easy to become focused on the tasks at hand but getting information to the motoring public is critical to helping them make smart…

Episode 46: Ways to improve winter resilience of roads

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What are some key elements to improve winter resilience of roads to severe winter conditions? In 2020 Mark Corbin, Highways Key Route Network Manager at Transport for West Midlands, received…

Episode 45: Qualified Product List for Deicing Chemicals

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How do maintenance managers know what’s in deicing chemicals and do they meet the specifications? Many years ago a group of states in the pacific northwest region of the US…

Episode 44: Let’s break the ice

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There are many different alternative methods and equipment available to perform winter maintenance. In this episode Jed Falgren and Jeff Perkins from the Minnesota DOT talks about a new strategy…

Episode 43: What’s new in FHWA Road Weather Management?

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The Federal Highway Administration Road Weather Management Program plays an important role in winter maintenance across the nation. Contributing significant work in the development of Maintenance Decision Support Systems and…

Episode 42: What’s up with the weather?

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What is El Nino and how do the Tradewinds influence the weather on the east coast? We’ve all heard the terms atmospheric rivers, the polar vortex, Siberian Express and others,…

Episode 41: The latest word on alternate methods for deicing

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There are many different alternative methods and equipment available to perform winter maintenance. In this episode Laura Fay from the Western Transportation Institute at the University of Montana talks about…

Webinar: 5th State Showcase – Successful maintenance training in a virtual environment

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We’ll probably all agree that in person training is preferred and the social networking with colleagues is an added benefit. However, in todays environment of social distancing, instructor lead training…

Episode 40: Smart salting for sustainability

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Having sustainable winter maintenance practices is one of the Top 10 things for a world class winter maintenance program. Environmental considerations is one of the three pillars of sustainability along…

Episode 39: Covid impacts on maintenance operations

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The Covid pandemic has dramatically altered the way we do business and maintenance has not been immune. In this episode we’re having a discussion with the leadership of the AASHTO…

Episode 38: Winter service by contract

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In this episode of SICOP Talks Winter Ops were visiting with Frank Rizzardo, President of Emcon Services, an employee owned construction company, with maintenance contracts across Canada that includes providing…

Episode 37: RWIS – How many and where?

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Road Weather Information Systems or RWIS provides invaluable data about road weather and the real-time condition of the roadway during winter events. When RWIS began to be deployed back in…

Episode 36: Decisions, Decisions

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Maintenance Decision Support Systems or MDSS are an excellent tool to help maintenance managers evaluate all the important information about a storm including the output from advanced forecasting tools and…

Episode 35: Maintenance goes to college

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Colorado DOT and Front Range Community College collaborated in the creation of the first Highway Management Program in the nation.  Developed strictly for current highway maintenance personnel this two-year degree…

Episode 34: Asleep at the wheel – Fighting driver fatigue

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The most important element of a successful winter maintenance program are the employees.  Having a well trained, efficient, and alert workforce is a key to success.  However, working long hours…

Episode 33: Nordic Experiences

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Lots can be learned from see how others approach winter operations.  James Morin of the Washington State DOT had the opportunity to interact with the Norwegian Road Authority and compare…

Episode 32: A new guide for material application methodologies

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One of the primary missions of SICOP is to promote work advancing winter maintenance operations. Clear Roads is a consortia of states conducting practical research in winter maintenance. In this…

Webinar: 4th State Showcase Webinar on The Use of Technology in Achieving the Maintenance Mission

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In the 4th State Showcase webinar Vince Garcia, Wyoming DOT, along with Jeremy McGuffey, Indiana DOT and Darcy Bullock, Purdue University describe projects to improve safety and mobility during winter…

Episode 31: What is the Professional Snowfighters Association?

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Recording at the TRB Annual Meeting, Wilf Nixon returns to SICOP Talks Winter Maintenance to visit about winter maintenance and the new Professional Snowfighters Association (PSA). The PSA is a…

Episode 30: 2019 SICOP Year in Review

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In this episode Steve Lund, SICOP Chairman and Rick Nelson, SICOP Coordinator, recap SICOP activities from the past year.  From producing episodes of SICOP Talks Winter Ops to hosting State…

Episode 29: Let’s talk some road weather

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When you talk about maintaining mobility during inclement weather, one group of folks that can make it or break it for the maintenance crews are the weather forecasters.  On this…

Episode 28: Challenges of winter maintenance in the south

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No part of the country is immune from the effects of winter weather.  Winter storms in the southern reaches of the US are particularly difficult to deal with.  Events severe…

Webinar: 3rd State Showcase – The use of technology in achieving the maintenance mission

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In this 3rd State Showcase webinar Natalie Roark and Travis Teter of the Missouri DOT discuss the development of an automated highway flagger station centered around a trailer mounted impact…

Episode 27: IMO at the Nevada DOT

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SICOP Talks Winter Ops with Rod Schilling from the Nevada DOT as he talks about Integrated Mobile Observations.  Obtaining data about the weather and other things happening onboard snow plows…

Episode 26: I ain’t afraid of no winter maintenance problem!

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SICOP Talks Winer Ops with Laura Fay.   Who are you going to call when you have a perplexing problem in Winter maintenance.  Why,Laura Fay at the Western Transportation Institute of…

Episode 25: The Swedish perspective on winter maintenance

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SICOP talks winter ops with Dan Eriksson from the Swedish Road Administration. While State DOT’s here in the United States self perform the vast majority of winter maintenance they are…

Episode 24: The road to road weather management

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SICOP talks winter ops with Paul Pisano.  Paul had a very productive career with the Federal Highway Administration retiring as the Road Weather Management and Work Zone Team Leader.  During…

Episode 23: Is the wind blowing in Wyoming? High wind blow-over hazard warnings.

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One of the benefits of the Connected Vehicle Pilot Project is the ability to generate weather alerts including high wind blow over hazard warnings. This system is proving to be…

Webinar: 2nd State Showcase – The use of technology in achieving the maintenance mission

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In the 2nd State Showcase webinar Joe Thompson, New York State DOT Snow and Ice Program Manager and Todd Cook, South Carolina DOT District Maintenance Engineer present their use of…

Episode 22: EDC5 – Weather Responsive Management Strategies

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Weather Responsive Management Strategies is one of the rapid deployment initiatives that is part of the FHWA program Every Day Counts.  Every Day Counts is a program that helps states…

Episode 21: Snow fence is a SAFE bet in blowing snow

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Controlling drifting snow has been a winter maintenance challenge for as long as there has been the desire to have mobility.  Departments of transportation have using these structures for many…

Episode 20: TSMO365 – Weather or not

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Keeping the public moving in all weather conditions is an orchestrated dance between the maintenance forces, the network operators, and the public.  The actions of one influences the reactions of…

Webinar: Showcasing the use of technology in achieving the maintenance mission

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Observing the approach our colleagues take in addressing a particular situation is the purest form of grass-roots technology transfer.  Even if your particular situation doesn't exactly match theirs, their approach…

Episode 19: When the snow hits the fan – Emergency operations methodology

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Maintenance is used to responding to severe weather but when the storm escalates into a state of emergency maintenance becomes just one of the players addressing the event.  Clear Roads…

Episode 18: Just what has SICOP been up to? 2018 SICOP Year In Review

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SICOP exists to support member states in fulfilling their winter maintenance mission.  As one of AASHTOs Technical Service Programs we are supported through voluntary contributions made by state DOTs.  Throughout…

Episode 17: You can’t manage what you don’t measure

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You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Agencies have been performing winter maintenance in one manner or another for a hundred years. Measuring how well we’ve been doing is a…

Episode 16: Winter maintenance and the social sciences

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Why do travelers make the decisions they do during bad weather is a much more difficult question than many transportation agencies are geared up to answer.  The trinity of successful…

Episode 15: What’s the news from TRB?

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The Transportation Research Board is a lot more than the week long Annual Meeting that happens every January. Listen in as SICOP Talks Winter Ops with James Bryant, TRBs Maintenance…

Episode 14: Oral history of winter maintenance in the US

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How did the evolution of modern winter maintenance take place? What significant milestones ushered in the tools that make up the modern winter maintenance tool box? Lee Smithson, formerly of…

Episode 13: We got big data – now what?

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Many agencies have been collecting a lot of data, GPS/AVL coordinates, RWIS, mobile observations, photos and the like.  Now comes the time to ask So What?  Until you do something…

Episode 12: Taking liquids to the max. Liquid only routes.

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Wisconsin liquid truck Agencies have been using salt brines and a variety of other liquid concoctions for years as a winter maintenance strategy. Pre-wetting stockpiles, pre-wetting at the spinner, slurries,…

Episode 11: Which way should the snowplow go? Route Optimization

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Having an efficient and effective winter maintenance program is built largely on having the right resources at the right place at the right time. This begs to question, Which way…

Episode 10: It’s All About the Equipment

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It’s no surprise that having the right equipment, in the right place is one of the top-10 things you should have to be a world class winter maintenance operation.  Caltrans…

Episode 9: Why You Should Be A Pathfinder

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The true value in a forecast is when folks actually use them and make smart decisions in response to the weather.  Road weather forecasts are specifically focused on how the…

Episode 8: Timely and Accurate Forecasts

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Having timely and accurate road weather forecasts is one of the top-10 things you should have to be a world class winter maintenance operation.  Utah DOT has a program where…

Episode 7: Are we sustainable?

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Using sustainable winter maintenance practices is one of the top-10 things you should be doing to have a world class winter maintenance program but what does being sustainable mean?  Sustainability…

Episode 6: Winter always wins the budget war

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In the struggle to second guess Mother Nature when preparing your winter maintenance budget winter will always win, often at the expense of other maintenance activities. Having adequate budget is…

Episode 5: Part 2 Top-10 Things for a World Class Winter Maintenance Program

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A short while back SICOP took to social media with the goal of identifying the 10 most important things an agency should do to have a world class winter maintenance…

Episode 4: Part 1 Top-10 Things For A World Class Winter Maintenance Program

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A short while back SICOP set about to identify the Top-10 things that would be necessary to have a world class winter maintenance program. Using crowd-sourced data we hit upon…

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