Despite the sharp drop in traffic volume, work zone activity does not relent. And it remains as dangerous as ever. Distracted or impaired drivers are still on the road. In our role as highway workers, the risk is clear and unmistakable.
During these times of uncertainty, we have all heard the call from our respective Governors about “critical industries” such as healthcare and first responders. Our infrastructure is also “critical”. As for Maintenance: Rust doesn’t stop, potholes still form, debris doesn’t stop building up, trash and debris continues to accrue. As for Operations: the trucks, busses and automobiles that keep it all moving are still out there. Motorists will need our help, meaning the Safety Service Patrol (or whatever it is called in your state) must continue – all while maintaining our “social distancing”. Electronic tolling is increased, as most states have removed human toll takers due to the obvious concerns with viral transmission.
We have noticed that while automobile traffic has subsided, truck traffic is still present, if not increasing. Our clients have seen this lower traffic volume overall and decided to take advantage of the lower traffic volumes by INCREASING the amount of preventive maintenance by extending or lifting lane closure restrictions.
While future state budgets will undoubtedly be affected, we must continue to maintain our assets, even during an impending budget crunch. If not, as we have seen time and again, the cost to play catch up will be multiple times the cost of doing it right while we can.
Rose-Hulman Ventures recently featured PILLAR and reviewed our patented salinity measurement device, SAM. PILLAR President Mark Boenke, shares his expertise on how SAM will reduce harmful salt usage on public roads and highways. Boenke partnered with Rose-Hulman Ventures back in 2017 when PILLAR was trying to find the best materials to use for the SAM device that would not be damaged by the highly corrosive saltwater. SAM was first developed by Mark's daughter, Bridget, as her high school senior year science fair project!
SAM is a salinity measurement device that reads the salt concentration, via electrical conductivity, in the water spraying off of the salt spreader’s back tire. If the salt concentration levels are too low to prevent the forming of black ice, the driver is notified to apply more salt. If concentration levels are adequate, the driver is notified that no additional salt is needed.
PILLAR hopes to bring SAM to the market by 2021. Be sure to check back in for updates on SAM's release and all of PILLAR's projects!
In the AIAI’s recent webinar: Performance Based O&M, PILLAR joined forces with Claudio Andreetta from Johnson Controls and Alistar Sawers from ATHS Consult to discuss performance-based O&M. With over 90 attendees, this was a hot topic among industry professionals!
The Boy Scout Motto “Be Prepared” keeps popping up in my mind with the recent COVID-19 virus and corresponding fallout. Looking beyond the COVID-19 crises and towards your industry and business opportunities; leaders of today need to be prepared in a multitude of ways. From hiring new young talent, to managing various demographics in the workspace, to looking towards future business opportunities and growth - to being flexible enough to bend and shift with the influx of virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and machine learning - being prepared is synonymous with success.