2018 Connecticut Creative Solutions Award Winners

Winter Operations Pre-wetting System Backflush Apparatus

Town of Cheshire

Problem Statement:  If pre-wetting system on the truck is not flushed between storms and at the end of the season, harsh snow fighting chemicals can damage the system and the filter pump can seize.cheshire.csw.1.2

Solution:  A valve and coupler was installed on each system to isolate the pump and filter and allow fleet personnel to flush system with water to clean harsh chemicals out and also add an RV antifreeze with lubricant to the system for seasonal storage and maintenance.

Cost Estimate: Approximately $50 for valve, fitting and hose and one hour of labor to install.

Benefit:  Over the last few seasons, at least 5 pumps needed to be replaced or repaired to make the wetting system work.  These repairs took an average of two hours and cost $300-500 per pump in addition to having the equipment out of service.

Contact: Rich Kaczer, Fleet Manager, Town of Cheshire, rkaczer@cheshirect.org, 203-699-9404

Undercarriage Washing System

Town of South Windsor

Problem Statement:  Harsh snow fighting chemicals collect on winter operations equipment, causing corrosion and damage and make it difficult for mechanics to maintain the equipment.  Washing and rinsing is helpful but is especially difficult to do for the undercarriage of vehicles.

Solution:  A drive over flushing system was designed using Pressure treated 4x4s were connected using metal strapping and screws to create protection for PVC pipe.  Quarter inch holes were drilled into the pipe to provide a low pressure mash flush capability.  Fleet vehicles drive over the system, flushing the chlorides off the equipment and creating a welcome environment for maintenance and repair.  The entire system is connected to a two inch water service using a section of fire hose.

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Cost estimate:  $300-400 in materials

Benefit:  The system has gone through well over 1000 cycles and continues to provide excellent service for the 30+ fleet vehicles during each winter operations activity.  Keeping the fleet clean allows for timely service and extension of service life of the equipment.

Contact: Leon Clough, Fleet Manager, Town of South Windsor, leon.clough@southwindsor.org, 860-648-6366

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Signal Spotlights: CTDOT Traffic Signal Management Plan Workshop

traffic_signal_spotlights_logoThe Connecticut Department of Transportation held a two-day workshop November 8 and 9, 2018 focused on creating a statewide Traffic Signal Management Plan.

dec.2018.ss.graphic.1Staff involved in the design, maintenance and operations of the state’s traffic signal system participated in the workshop. These participants included design engineers, signal maintainers, highway maintainers, and operations staff who manage the state’s network of connected signals and cameras. Mary McCarthy, Tony Lorenzetti and Tess Schwartz from the UConn T2 Center took part in the event to represent the interests of Connecticut municipalities. Participants learned about what a traffic signal management plan (TSMP) is, the benefits of creating a TSMP and the process CTDOT will use to develop one.

Prior to the event, CTDOT’s consultant divided attendees into diverse groups that don’t work together on a daily basis. At various points during the workshop, these groups broke out to discuss their experiences and CTDOT’s current process for managing traffic signals. Workshop participants then shared these experiences to create lists of what is being done well and what can be improved.

dec.2018.ss.graphic.2Facilitators from FHWA walked participants through the “GCOST” process of determining goals, context, objectives, strategies and tactics and how performance measures can be used to assess the success of the program. A planned Berlin Turnpike project served as an example for participants to practice developing signal timings that meet stated goals and objectives.

dec.2018.ss.graphic3The next stage of developing the TSMP will involve small-group stakeholder interviews to gather role-specific knowledge and information on CTDOT processes from workshop participants. The consultant will then work with CTDOT staff to develop the goals, objectives, strategies and tactics that will guide the maintenance and operations of the state’s signal systems. CTDOT’s TSMP is expected to be complete in approximately six to eight months.

For more information on Traffic Signal Management Plans:

T2 Center’s Traffic Signal Brief: Developing a Traffic Signal Management Plan

Traffic Signal Management Plans: An Objectives- and Performance-Based Approach (FHWA)

Improving Traffic Signal Management and Operations: A Basic Service Model (FHWA)

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INFO TO GO: Winter Operations

info.to.go.logoIn this issue of INFO TO GO: Dec. 2018_ Winter Operations, we focus on the online Winter Operations Training Courses developed by the Snow and Ice Pooled Fund Cooperative Program, sicop.transportation.org, and available for free to state and local highway agencies through AASHTO’s Transportation Curriculum Coordination Council (TC3) web site, tc3.transportation.org.  These courses are great opportunities to stay engaged in professional development over the winter and contain useful resources for digging into the different aspects of Winter Operations;  including best practices and examples of how others have found success.

Share Your Experience:  When you have a chance to participate in a module, please let us know what you think of this type of learning.  Email Mary McCarthy at mary.c.mccarthy@uconn.edu.

 

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2018 Ceremony Honoring T2 Program Graduates

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CT Dept. of Transportation – Graduates from All Programs

On November 15, 2018, the Technology Transfer Center staff, guests and Connecticut’s top transportation leaders honored 114 professionals who completed one or more of our six different certificate programs in 2018.

There were 49 Public Works Academy graduates, 27 Road Master graduates, 14 Road Scholar graduates, 11 Legal Traffic Authority graduates, 8 Transportation Leadership graduates and 8 Safety Champion graduates. It is important to note that 24 of our 2018 graduating class were members of the CT Department of Transportation.

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Keynote Speakers – Paul Mozzicato, Carl J. Gandza, Amy Jackson-Grove, James P. Redeker and Michael Gantick

The opening remarks of our ceremony were delivered by Dean Kazem Kazerounian from the School of Engineering at the University of Connecticut. Our keynote speakers for the event were Division Administrator Amy Jackson-Grove of the Federal Highway Administration, Commissioner James P. Redeker of the CT Department of Transportation; and three of our 2018 graduates, Michael Gantick, Director of Pubic Works for the Town of South Windsor, Carl J. Gandza, Engineering Project Manager for the City of New Britain and Paul Mozzicato, Transportation Maintenance Planner for the CT Department of Transportation.

The list of alumni from each graduating class dating from 1996 to the present are posted here.

2018.grad.guideTo view the view the 2018 Graduation Guide, please click on the link below.

2018 Grad Guide FINAL

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Congratulations Graduates! 2018 Graduation Guide

2018.grad.guideOn November 15, 2018 we honored 114 transportation professionals who completed one or more of our six different certificate programs in 2018. If you like to view the 2018 Graduation Guide, please click on the link below.

2018 Grad Guide FINAL

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Signal Spotlights: New Britain Citywide Traffic Signal Modernization

traffic_signal_spotlights_logoWith the opening of the CTfastrak Downtown New Britain Station and various developments throughout New Britain, the City recognized the need to update its traffic signal equipment and had implemented a Citywide Traffic Signal Modernization program.

Phase I

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Photo Credit: City of New Britain

Under Phase I of the $3 million CMAQ-funded project, the City of New Britain evaluated existing equipment and selected new standard equipment for all future installations. ATC traffic controllers and video detection capable of detecting bicycles were among the equipment selected. Loop detection at many of the city’s intersections failed, causing unnecessary delay. The proposed controller and vehicle detector upgrades to video detection will allow for bicycle detection while increasing reliability.

Also under Phase I, the City reestablished an abandoned closed loop system along Main Street in the city’s downtown center and created the start of a centralized transportation management system.

Phase II

Phase II, which is currently underway, includes improvements to traffic signals on the following corridors:

  • West Main Street
  • Columbus Boulevard
  • Myrtle Street
  • East Main Street
  • Broad Street
  • Main Street

The work will include six full intersection replacements along with controller and communication equipment upgrades, ADA and audible pedestrian signal improvements, vehicle and bicycle detection, timing and phasing improvements and consideration of an adaptive signal control system on West Main Street.

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Downtown New Britain, Photo Credit: City of New Britain

Currently the city’s centralized system consists of only four intersections, and the Public Works Department relies primarily on motorists and public works staff to identify and report issues with traffic signal control equipment. Expanding the centralized system to a total of 23 intersections will allow the City to manage the timing of traffic signals within the downtown by communicating directly with field equipment to modify traffic signal programs in real time. Controller and vehicle detection upgrades will be made under Phase II to reduce congestion.

Traffic Signal Management Plan (TSMP)

As part of the systems engineering process for CMAQ funding, the City of New Britain developed a Traffic Signal Management Plan for the operations and maintenance of its traffic signals. The plan outlines the City’s goals and objectives, strategies for design, operations and maintenance, as well as a set of performance measures to evaluate how well operations are meeting objectives. This plan ensured that the City was purchasing the appropriate equipment and that the City had adequate resources to operate and maintain the equipment.

“It was a pleasure to work with the T2 Center to prepare the City of New Britain’s Traffic Signal Management and Operations Plan. The Traffic Signal Systems Circuit Rider was critical in the preparation of this important document.”

– Carl J. Gandza, Engineering Project Manager, City of New Britain

To view the City of New Britain’s TSMP, click here.

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Town Crier: Cheshire Public Works on the Benefits of Using Interns

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The inclusion of interns can offer a great opportunity for students while also greatly benefiting municipal programs. We conducted an interview with the Cheshire Department of Public Works & Engineering’s Assistant Town Engineer, Daniel J. Bombero Jr., to discuss the benefits of using interns in their department.

Question #1: Where do you find your interns? 

We listed a job posting on the Town’s website and, for the first time, this year we also listed on Indeed.com. The posting was specific to seeking currently enrolled engineering students. This year we received three applications for the position, all of which were through Indeed.com. All applicants were given formal interviews, after which we offered two applicants positions for the summer. In years past, there was only one of these positions offered; however, with several projects to tackle and an unfilled full-time position, we decided to bring two of the candidates on.

Question #2: Do you pay the interns? 

The intern positions are paid $10.75 per hour, the same rate as other seasonal employees in public works or our grounds division.

Question #3: Do you find the interns reliable? 

We have been lucky enough in the past few years to draw several motivated individuals. While personalities have differed over the years, we have been able to leverage the individuals’ interests and strong suits to benefit both the interns professionally and our program.

Question #4: What kind of projects/tasks do you have the interns work on? 

This past year, we were able to have interns involved in activities including GIS asset location and collection along with verification of existing asset location and related asset information. With the implementation of GIS-integrated outfall and catch basin inspection forms, were able to have the interns visit and inspect over 250 of these assets as part of the MS4 initiative. This was a big part of the workload that was carried by our interns this past year; however, we were able to also include them in some field survey work, drafting and work with Excel databases, as the interns voiced interest in these activities. It was great to be able to provide an opportunity for them to experience this work.

Question #5: Can you share either a success or lesson learned story with us?

When filling any position, there is always the possibility that you may not necessarily receive the level of production or enthusiasm that you are anticipating, and with that we have had both positive and negative experiences. This past year we were lucky enough to have two highly motivated interns who had both direction and drive and were able to complete the tasks that were asked of them. We also included them in activities related to the engineering avenues that they are anticipating moving into professionally in an effort to keep their interest and provide experience that they desired.

 

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