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City of Lakeville, Catch Basin Trailer

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City of Bloomington, Mastic Patches

The Local OPERA Program is now accepting research funding proposals for FY 2015. Do you or your maintenance staff need funding to develop an idea to improve your sign maintenance and installation process? Or maybe you’ve come up with an idea for a new tool for controlling roadside vegetation or a design for a more effective work-zone safety product. Whatever it is, we want to hear about it!

To apply for OPERA funding, complete the brief proposal application form: 

Please send completed proposals (in Word or PDF format) to Mindy Carlson at Minnesota LTAP at carlson@umn.edu. Electronic submission is preferred but not required. If you are unable to submit electronically, please mail or fax (see form for details). Proposal submissions are due Friday, May 12, 2017.

Your proposed research project should focus on the timely development of relevant ideas or methods that improve transportation or maintenance operations. Our goal is to collect and disseminate homegrown, innovative solutions to the everyday challenges our transportation workforce faces on the job.

Project Review Process

The Local OPERA Program selection committee is composed of one city engineer, one county engineer, a representative from the MnDOT Maintenance Operations Group, and a representative from MnDOT State Aid for Local Transportation Groups.

The Local OPERA Program funds projects up to $20,000. OPERA-funded project supporters/champions are encouraged to leverage dollars and seek out support from other sources, including cities, counties, suppliers, or manufacturers.

The OPERA selection committee approves or rejects project requests under $5,000 based on the submitted proposal. However, funding between $5,000 and $20,000 can be approved only after a presentation to the selection committee.

Project Funding Details

Projects are funded in two parts. The local agency is immediately eligible for reimbursement of purchases up to 80 percent of the total approved project cost. The remaining 20 percent will be paid upon submission of a final report.

Project Examples

Winter Maintenance

  • Deicing and anti-icing methods, equipment, and materials
  • Salt storage handling
  • Snow fence (blowing snow) systems

Road and Bridge Maintenance

  • Pavement resurfacing options
  • Road striping performance and measurements
  • Bridge paint removal and handling

Roadside Maintenance

  • Roadside vegetation management
  • Roadside sign maintenance
  • Erosion control methods

Work-Zone and Employee Safety

  • Work-zone safety products
  • Field test and evaluation of other work-zone safety projects
  • Work-zone safety procedures

Maintenance Management

  • Maintenance management systems
  • Equipment management systems
  • Equipment tracking systems