Fallen highway workers honored
A memorial inscribed with the names of 36 Wyoming DOT who have died in the line of duty was dedicated in June during a ceremony at agency headquarters in Cheyenne, according to Transportation Topics. Serving as the core of the memorial is a 6-ft-high granite monument engraved with the names of the deceased workers and an epitaph that reads, “In Memory of State Employees Who Have Died While Building, Maintaining, and Protecting the Wyoming Transportation System.” Creation of the memorial was sponsored in a cooperative effort by the Wyoming DOT Employees Association and the Wyoming Highway Patrol Association, with support from the Wyoming Transportation Commission.
Saving time and money
A Pennsylvania DOT program introduced in Pittsburgh to provide quicker aid to motorists in trouble saves money and reduces traffic jams during morning and evening rush hours, according to a team of Penn State researchers. The Penn-Lincoln Parkway Service Patrol began in October 1996 with a local company that provides three specially equipped tow trucks and specially trained operators. Tow trucks patrol U.S. highways 376 and 279 through Pittsburgh.
“Based on the annual cost of $220,000 for the project and the projected benefits of $6.5 million per year, the Service Patrol is experiencing a benefits/cost ratio of approximately 30 to 1,” Eric T. Donnell, graduate student in civil engineering, told attendees at the second annual PTI Transportation Conference.
The researchers looked at a variety of indicators to assess the success of the service patrol, including the response time to the incident, the total duration of the incident, the number of vehicle hours of delay, changes in gas consumption and the change in emissions.
Before implementation of the patrol, the state police took an average of 16.5 minutes to arrive at an incident. According to the researchers, the service patrol took an average of 8.7 minutes, a decrease in approximately 53% The service patrol also reduced the incident duration by an average of 8.3 minutes or a decrease of 244
The researchers estimated that the program reduced incident-related vehicle hours of delay by at least 547,000 hours a year, avoiding about $6 million in incident-related delay costs. The patrol reduced the incident-related fuel consumption by at least $480,000 in associated costs and the cost of incident-related vehicle emissions by approximately $7,000.
It’s that time of year again . . . back to school time for children across the country. The school bus stops and sidewalks will be filled with children, and with this comes the increased risk of a collision between a child and a motor vehicle. To help make drivers aware of the dangers, AAA-Chicago Motor Club (AAA-CMC) has launched its annual “Schools Open—Drive Carefully” campaign. They are working with local police departments to display special posters in public areas to remind drivers to use extra caution.
“Kids are vulnerable to being struck by a vehicle because they are harder to see and their actions are unpredictable,” said Norma Cooper, spokesperson for AAA-CMC. “We really want to get the word out so we can reduce the risk of a tragedy.”
AAA-CMC offers these tips for drivers as the school bell rings across the country:
• Get in the habit now of recognizing school zones on your route;
• Look for bicycles, children walking or crossing guards;
• Scan between parked vehicles for children;
• Drive with headlights on so children and other drivers can see you;
• Be prepared to take evasive action—fast; and
• Avoid using cell phones while driving, especially in before- and after-school hours.
Metric to English
In January, the Minnesota DOT (Mn/DOT) chose to follow surrounding states and revert from metric to English measurement units for highway design and construction plans, according to Mn/DOT News.
“Since designers are already familiar with English units, the reversion to English units should be easier than the 1992 conversion to metrics,” said Del Gerdes, state design engineer.
Big trucks, big tires
The world’s largest 360-ton haul trucks are rolling out with Michelin 63-in. tires, which stand 13-ft-tall and weigh more than five tons each. Michelin has worked closely with its customers to test the 63-in. tire during the last two years at a large North American surface mine and Michelin’s earthmover proving grounds in Almeria, Spain. The 80 Series radial tires feature a new, low-profile, low-pressure architecture which achieves higher load capacity, extends tire life up to 202and boosts vehicle performance, according to the manufacturer.