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Winter Maintenance at the 2023 TRB Meeting March 29, 2023

Clear Roads has prepared a listing of technical sessions and posters related to winter maintenance that were presented at the 2023 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting. The list includes nearly two dozen papers and posters, with links to presentation materials. The sessions covered a wide range of winter maintenance topics, including materials, equipment, technology and weather.

Download the list: Winter Maintenance at the 2023 TRB Annual Meeting

Note: TRB requires a login to access full papers and presentation materials. If you are having trouble accessing these materials, check with your DOT or other transportation library.

New Clear Roads RFP: Proposals Due April 7 March 10, 2023

Clear Roads has posted a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a new research project:

pH Waiver for Deicing Products and the Qualified Products List

MnDOT requests responses for a Clear Roads project that will develop guidance to help determine the appropriate pH range for deicing products included on the Clear Roads Qualified Products List (QPL), in particular, those products with a high organic compound content. Products with pH levels that are outside of an acceptable range can be a significant safety risk, leading to corrosion in highway infrastructure and environmental pollution. The goal of this project is to help Clear Roads determine the appropriate pH range for deicing products listed on the QPL. If the research confirms that pH is not the only qualifying factor for some winter maintenance products, particularly those with a low pH associated with organic material, investigators will develop a process to determine risks to highway infrastructure and the environment that are separate from pH, allowing a waiver to be considered.

Learn more at MnDOT’s Professional Technical Consultant Services pageThe deadline to submit proposals is Friday, April 7, 2023.

New Podcast Episodes from SICOP Talks Winter Ops February 22, 2023

AASHTO’s SICOP Talks Winter Ops podcast tackles a variety of topics in recent episodes:

Potholes and other leftovers from winter storms (Episode 67): Greg Duncan from Tennessee DOT shares his experiences with potholes and other roadside issues caused by winter weather. February 2023. Podcast.

Implementing Snow and Ice Control Performance Measures (Episode 66): Caleb Dobbins, SICOP Chair from New Hampshire DOT (retired) discusses performance measures and how states can work to make their snow- and ice- related goals a reality. December 2022. Podcast.

Back to School – The Purdue Road School Conference and Expo (Episode 65): In March of this year, more than 2,700 transportation professionals gathered on the Purdue University campus to discuss current research and share best practices. Jeremy McGuffey of Indiana DOT describes the annual event’s 108-year history and its significance within the transportation industry. October 2022. Podcast.

Implementing Something New – Overcoming the Challenges (Episode 64): Craig Bargfrede of Iowa DOT and Jeremy McGuffey with Indiana DOT discuss the challenges and successes their agencies have faced as they put new ideas into practice. August 2022. Podcast.

Image source: Joint Transportation Research Program

New Clear Roads Synthesis Report: Avoiding Corrosion of Electrical Connectors February 8, 2023

A recent Clear Roads synthesis project surveyed state DOTs with winter maintenance programs about their best practices for avoiding corrosion of electrical connectors.

Common agency practices for reducing corrosion include installing a waterproof or weatherproof connector, using dielectric silicone and dielectric grease for sealing connections, and applying a heat shrink tubing to cover the crimped or soldered area where a new terminal meets a wire.

Read the synthesis report: Avoiding Corrosion of Electrical Connectors on Winter Maintenance Equipment, January 2023.

Image source: Clear Roads

New Clear Roads Research: Maximizing the Value of Vehicle Technology Systems January 25, 2023

Using Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) technologies throughout the year can help justify the expenses of purchasing and installing them in maintenance vehicles and training staff to use them.

Many AVL/GPS systems have applications that extend beyond winter maintenance practices, increasing the benefits and value of these technologies. This Clear Roads project helps agencies identify opportunities to deploy these systems year-round.

Download the final report and two-page brief: Expanded Use of AVL/GPS Technologies, December 2022.

New Clear Roads Research: Evaluating Indoor Automated Stockpile Measurement Systems January 11, 2023

Many state and local transportation agencies with winter maintenance programs purchase their road salt before the winter season to secure the best prices and assure availability. However, measuring and monitoring the quantity of salt in widely distributed stockpiles—including many sites without regular staff on-site—can be both challenging and time-consuming.

This Clear Roads project examined a range of existing and emerging approaches to measuring indoor stockpiles, including automated and semi-automated systems using LiDAR, photogrammetry, surveying, acoustic sensing, and drone technology.

Download the final report and two-page brief: Evaluation of Indoor Automated Stockpile Measurement Systems, December 2022.

National Survey Compiles Eight Years of Winter Maintenance Data December 28, 2022

Clear Roads has published its eighth Annual Survey of State Winter Maintenance Data, which compiles data on winter resources, materials and costs from 36 states for the 2021-2022 winter season. The interactive spreadsheet-based tool includes a United States map that displays many of these metrics.


Clear Roads RFPs: Proposals Due January 6 December 13, 2022

Clear Roads has reposted Request for Proposals (RFP) for two research projects:

  • Effects of Additives in Deicing Salts at Lower Temperatures
  • Best Management Practices for Liquid Chloride Storage and Pumping Systems

To view the details of these RFPs, please visit MnDOT’s Professional Technical Consultant Services pageThe deadline to submit proposals is Friday, January 6, 2023.

Submit a Research Idea to Clear Roads! December 7, 2022

Have a research idea? This year, Clear Roads is inviting members of the winter maintenance and research communities to submit ideas for consideration as future Clear Roads research topics. We welcome great ideas from anyone!

Clear Roads funds winter maintenance research in six topic areas, with a focus on:

  • Evaluating winter maintenance materials, equipment and methods under real-world conditions.
  • Developing specifications and recommendations.
  • Investigating innovative techniques and technologies that will save agencies money, improve safety and increase efficiency.
  • Developing practical field guides and training curriculums to promote the results of research projects.

To learn more, visit the Submit a Research Idea page. The submission deadline is Friday, January 6, 2023.

Clear Roads Research Featured at Environmental Conference November 23, 2022

On October 13, 2022, members of the Lake George Association in upstate New York hosted their annual Salt Summit to discuss strategies and technologies for reducing road salt. Clear Roads member Joe Thompson of New York State DOT spoke at the event, sharing highlights of the in-progress Clear Roads research project investigating ways agencies can improve their winter maintenance operations to recognize environmentally sensitive road segments.

Learn more about Clear Roads project 20-05: Using GIS to Highlight Highway Segments Sensitive to Deicing Materials.

Watch a video of Joe’s presentation on Youtube.