Winter 2016 Vol. 24, No. 1

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Safety

Public works, emergency response agencies team up to manage traffic incidents
Effective traffic incident management is crucial to mitigating the impacts of incidents and improving the safety of the traveling public and emergency responders alike. In a session at the American Public Works Association–Minnesota Chapter annual fall workshop, speakers discussed strategies and tools to decrease response times and increase effectiveness in managing traffic incidents.

Younger drivers toolkit provides resources for local agencies
Younger drivers between the ages of 15–29 are Minnesota’s highest-risk driving population. Traffic crashes involving this age group resulted in 32 percent of traffic fatalities in the state in 2013. To help local agencies reduce these tragic numbers, the Minnesota Department of Transportation recently released the Younger Drivers Toolkit for Local Agencies.

Prevent workplace backing accidents
Unsafe backing maneuvers can increase the risk of death or injury and cost many thousands of dollars for repair and replacement of damaged equipment. Street and highway departments can prevent workplace backing accidents by following best practices and raising awareness through good training.

LRRB Spotlight

Turtle Tunnel
Turtles frequently cross a busy highway in Washington County, which is dangerous for both the turtles and drivers. Washington County installed a specialized below-grade, dry culvert under the road to facilitate the safe travel of turtles and other reptiles from one side of the road to the other.

Spreadsheet tool helps determine when it’s safe to use flashing yellow arrows
A spreadsheet tool designed to help MnDOT and other agencies determine where and when it’s safe to use flashing yellow arrows is now available on the Minnesota Local Road Research Board website.

Maintenance

Reducing road salt: getting the public on board
Many snow and ice control professionals are taking action to reduce the amount of chloride that reaches our waters from road salt operations. But minimizing salt use takes more than commitment from agencies: the public needs to do its part, too. Connie Fortin discusses how changes in public expectations and behaviors could help reduce salt use.

Included in this article:

MPCA video, training aim to reduce salt use
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has released a new 15-minute video—Improved Winter Maintenance: Good Choices for Clean Water.

New MnDOT video: Winter Driving Safety
A new video from MnDOT—Winter Driving Safety 2015—is on MnDOT’s YouTube channel.

Volunteer your plows for research project
The civil engineering program of Minnesota State University, Mankato is comparing configurations of roadway plow types, cutting edges, and attack angles at the Winter Area Roadway Maintenance Research facility in Shakopee. The researchers are asking for city and county agencies to send their plows at prearranged times and plow three parallel lanes of approximately 800 feet length.

Communications

Fall Maintenance Expo: communication tips, roadeo, and more
More than 2,500 people convened at the 2015 Minnesota Fall Maintenance Expo, held in St. Cloud on Oct. 7–8.

Tips for writing e-mails
Keep this handy checklist with tips about writing, proofing, and more.

Tips for important conversations
Think of a recent important conversation: How many of the questions in this exercise can you answer YES to?

More word fun!
Good writing can affect/effect your job prospects. Which verb is the right one?

Name that … plow?
Kids thought up clever names for snowplows at the 2015 Anoka County Fair.  If you’ve nicknamed your plow, send us a quick e-mail and we’ll publish them in our next issue.

Workshops and Training

Winter crossword puzzle
When you finish our winter puzzle, the letters in the shaded boxes, moving from top to bottom, will spell out a salt-free way to get around in the winter.

Information Services

The Shelf
Recent publications from various sources

Work-zone app, classes available from ATSSA
The American Traffic Safety Services Association has released a work-zone app for your phone. The free app serves as a handy tool to swiftly calculate the basic component parts of a typical roadway work zone.