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SICOP Talks Winter Ops

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 winter service in some of the harshest environments in North America. Frank shares his story of how British Columbia transitioned from an agency that self-performed maintenance into one that contracts for those services and his take on winter service from a contractors perspective.

You can learn more about Emcon Services and their winter maintenance operations by visiting their website at Emcon Services

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 the 1990’s the big question was, and still is 30 years later, how many sensor stations should be installed and where should they go. The Aurora consortium has been looking at this question and recently completed a project on Optimum RWIS Density, Phase 2.

Dr Tae Kwon from the University of Alberta describes this work and the results he obtained. For more information on this project visit the Aurora website at https://aurora-program.org/research/completed/optimal-rwis-sensor-density-and-location-phase-2/

or you can contact Dr. Tae Kwon by email at tjkwon@ualberta.ca

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 make better decisions regarding optimal treatment strategies. On this episode Dave Huft of the South Dakota DOT will give us some insight into these systems and how DOTs utilize them in their winter maintenance operations.
For more information about the MDSS Pooled Fund Study you can follow this link to their website: https://mdss.iteris.com/mdss/pfs/ or start up a dialogue with Dave by emailing him at Dave Huft

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 program is an excellent way to advance your career in highway maintenance.  Listen in as the programs director, Susan Baillargeon, explains how it came about and what students can expect to experience as they make their way through the program.

There are a couple of ways to find out more about this program.  You can check out the program overview, follow this link to Front Range Community College or by contacting Program Director Susan Baillargeon

 

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 during a emergency without opportunities to refresh can lead to dire consequences.  For example, when you’ve been awake for 24 hours your performance can be similar to someone with a blood alcohol content of 0.1%

Listen in as Dave Orr, Director of the Cornell LTAP center talks about research into driver fatigue and discusses Tech Tips they’ve developed to help agencies understand driver fatigue and ways to combat it.

For more information you can contact Dave Orr, Director of the Cornell Local Roads Program by email

View the Tech Tips here:
Full Series
Introduction
Challenges
Types, Causes, and Effects
Solutions
Resources
Sample Fatigue Management Plan

Listen in as SICOP Talks Winter Ops with Dave Orr:

 

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 notes.  On this episode James shares his observations on the similarities and differences between the two winter operations.  Some key elements during our conversation included equipment, materials, relationships with academia, and levels of service.

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 episode we’re going to spend some time with Paul Brown, a long time member of Clear Roads, discussing a recently completed project 15-01: Synthesis of Material Application Methodologies for Winter Operations.

For more about this project follow the link to the Clear Roads website: https://clearroads.org/project/15-01/

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 new non-profit professional association dedicated to creating a community of practice, improved knowledge and practices in the pursuit of safe, sustainable snowfighting.  Listen in as we learn more about the PSA.

If you want more information about the Professional Snowfighters Association you can visit their website at http://professionalsnowfightersassociation.org or you can contact Wilf by email at wilf@PSA.org

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 Showcase Webinars to collaborating with other winter maintenance organizations, SICOP has had a busy year. 

AASHTO’s technical service programs are supported by voluntary contributions from state DOTs.  For SICOP this contribution is $4,000 and has been since the creation of the program back in 1998.  It’s important for the program to communicate the activities accomplished back to our member states to show how their contribution was used to promote winter maintenance and help states with their winter maintenance maintenance mission.

You can view the 2019 SICOP Year in Review by following THIS LINK

 

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 of SICOP Talks Winter Ops we’re going to get some perspective from that side of the fence from a someone who’s no stranger to the winter maintenance community, Chris Albrecht, Director of Business Development and Consulting Services at The Narwhal Group and member of the American Meteorological Society Committee on ITS and Road Weather.  

We first met Chris many years ago when he was involved with the AURORA Pooled Fund Study Focusing on research in Road Weather Information Systems and road weather.  Over the years these two fields have experienced rapid growth in the technology and the mainstreaming of the strategies the technology allows.  

If you want more information about road weather and the connections with the American Meteorological Society ITS and Road Weather Committee you can contact Chris by email at calbrecht@narwhalgroup.com