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8 CHAPTER THREE STATE OF THE PRACTICE This chapter provides an inventory and discussion of inno- Equipment improvements (wider front plows, wing vations, improvements, developments, and advancements plows, ground speed control units); made in winter highway maintenance during the past 10 years. Training and winter preparation; It presents a comprehensive and descriptive picture of the Better communication with the traveling public; and practices, enhancements, and technologies in use. Information distribution at the winter operations decision- maker level. In comparing the literature, efforts of leading states and provinces, and agency responses it is clear that there is very Another question asked what tools no longer were useful little separation between state of the practice and state of the or had been discarded in the past 10 years. A few were men- art in winter highway operations. The two levels of technol- tioned, such as the use of the 75mm recoilless rifle in high- ogy and research, integration and adoption, exist between the way avalanche control by the California DOT (Caltrans). agencies themselves rather than between the agencies and the Montana has seen the end of cutting snow pack with motor- researchers or developers of the advancements. Many agen- graders, and California no longer uses liquid deicers directly cies have active participation in applied research programs on snow pack. Indiana, Maryland, and Nevada cited a reduc- and frontline practical experimentation. In winter highway tion in the heavy dependence on abrasives. There have been operations, every storm, every day, involves adaptation using technologies that have been replaced, such as overhead spray the same set of methods and materials applied to a new situ- systems, mechanically controlled hopper spreader boxes and ation that at some levels is very similar to previous ones but U-boxes, or gasoline engines (all are diesel now). Quebec never fully the same. Winter maintenance activities take a included pre-wetting in the not useful category owing to dif- certain amount of finesse and creativity to accomplish, espe- ficulties in integrating it. cially in times of increasing resource constraints. The survey asked respondents to describe the most sig- nificant changes to winter operations that occurred during the SURVEY RESPONSES 1994 to 2004 period. New chemicals, all-liquids, and pre- wetting were the most common response with improved equip- The responses of the 22 agencies providing the primary con- ment; RWIS and weather forecast use were also frequently tent of this synthesis are presented in Appendix C and are mentioned. described by topic in the next sections of this report. Respondents reported upgrades to equipment, improved One question asked respondents was "what tools in their quality of equipment, and better products for anti-icing as the winter operations toolbox are well used?" Several traditional most common changes affecting winter maintenance opera- practices, as well as advancements, were described as "well tions. Specific key changes to winter operations included: used" tools by the responding agencies. Some of these tradi- tional practices included the use of various equipment, mate- Addition of pre-wetting, rials, and technologies such as snowplows, sanders, snow- All-liquid trucks, blowers, motorgraders, front-end loaders, salt, snow fences, Cab controls that are easier to use, and and two-way radios. Ground speed controllers for spreader operation to pro- vide calibrated application. Responding agencies cited the following advancements in winter highway operations: Larger and more powerful equipment has had a signifi- cant impact in reducing the effort required to complete many Anti-icing, all-liquid application, and pre-wetting; winter maintenance tasks as compared with 10 years ago. RWIS weather forecasts, pavement and weather infor- Several key changes cited fall into the information manage- mation; ment category, such as centralized storm management, win- Camera images available on the Internet; ter operations team (Indiana), RWIS (one of the top three Management practices (e.g., salt management plans, mentioned changes), customer surveys, performance mea- storm reports); sures, and availability of information on the Internet. Radar