ROADS REPORT

Article December 28, 2000
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Stop . . . thief!

In September, LoJack Corp. compiled data from a survey of 220 construction companies on vehicle theft. Of the 220 companies, more than half had experienced equipment theft. The value of stolen equipment totaled $4,384,400. Of 89 respondents who indicated financial loss related to theft of construction equipment, 33 had losses of under $25,000; 22 had losses of $25,000 to $49,000; 20 companies had losses of $50,000 to $99,000; nine had losses of $100,000 to $150,000; and five had losses of $150,000 or more.

The survey indicates that construction equipment theft is a problem. Kevin Mullins, vice president of sales and marketing for LoJack said, “Every year, construction jobsites lose more than $1 billion worth of equipment due to theft. Nearly half of all stolen vehicles are never recovered.”

The survey was conducted in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas and California. Of the 54% of respondents indicating a theft, California led the list with 29%, followed by Florida at 20%, New Jersey at 19%, New York at 12% and Texas at 10%. In Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, 5% of the respondents experienced theft, and in Connecticut, 1%. This data, indicating where construction equipment theft is an issue, coordinates with national theft figures where California and Florida are ranked No. 3 and 4 in the country for theft. Washington, D.C., and Arizona are Nos. 1 and 2.

LoJack Corp. markets a patented stolen vehicle recovery system that is operated by police, and is operational in 17 states and 14 countries. Vehicles equipped with LoJack are recovered 90% of the time, according to the company.

Dig in to Big Dig ice cream

Brigham’s ice cream has launched a new ice cream flavor inspired by Boston’s Big Dig. Produced in quarts for retail distribution and 2 1/2-gal tubs for Brigham’s restaurants, Big Dig features fudge brownie pieces, chocolate chunks and swirls of caramel in a vanilla ice cream base.

Two years ago, the Boston-based ice cream company harnessed the opportunity to integrate its ice cream and consumers’ familiarity of the project. The result was an advertising campaign that revolved around the billboard, “The Big Dig, Brigham’s Style.” Last year, Brigham’s went a step further, trademarking the term Big Dig and incorporating a gigantic Big Dig sundae into the dessert menu at all Brigham’s restaurants.

Patriotic big rig

The National Flag Truck took a day out of preparations for a farewell European tour to salute workers at the Alcoa Cleveland Works in Cleveland, Ohio. A 10-year sponsor of the National Flag Truck, Alcoa Wheel Products International produces one-piece hot forged aluminum wheels for pickups, sport utility vehicles, RVs, buses, motorhomes and heavy-duty trucks.

The National Flag Truck was displayed in the Alcoa forging plant in November. Volunteer

driver Marc Valentine was on hand to answer questions and autograph photos and books featuring the truck.

The truck carries five, 300-lb, 90-ft American flags, which are flown at official affairs of state, with the president and at national rededications. When not onboard the truck, the flags are stored under guard by the U.S. Navy aboard the U.S.S. Constitution, “Old Ironsides.” Representing the U.S., the truck has traveled to all 50 states, the Arctic and in several foreign countries.

The truck is a 1990 International 490 crew cab with aluminum wheels, an original DT 466 International engine and Allison MT 643 transmission. The custom-painted design features the seal of the red, white and blue Mount Rushmore flag, accented with a gold leaf.

The truck is supported by private and corporate donors and receives no tax monies or government funds, said Valentine. The truck first took its ceremonial mission on the road in 1989. In less than two years, the vehicle will complete its last overseas mission, then be retired from active service.

Highway heroes help ease congestion

The Freeway Service Patrol on U.S. 95 and I-15 in Las Vegas are a big hit with motorists in distress, as well as the general traveling public. The patrol was born of the U.S. 95 Major Investment Study (MIS) that evaluated traffic management solutions for the valley’s congested northwest corridor. While many of the MIS improvements will take several years and millions of dollars, the freeway service patrol concept was tabbed as a quick fix to help alleviate congestion and offer some relief to the 330,000 motorists who use the city’s Spaghetti Bowl Interchange daily. A bargain at $663,000 annually, under a three-year contract, the program works for Las Vegas, according to NDOT News. The concept is simple, everything that blocks the road, even momentarily, backs up traffic. By clearing incidents quickly, the freeway can return to normal as soon as possible, reducing and even preventing secondary accidents and cutting down on congestion.

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