A Benchmark for Snow and Ice Management in the Mile High City
“It’s an obvious benefit to the public that we have been able to lessen the ‘brown cloud’ from our use of liquids and a lower application rate of dry materials,” Kennedy said. The city also sweeps up the streets within 72 hours of putting down road treatment products, so the use of liquids in the downtown area helps lower post-treatment clean-up costs.
Advanced technology for advanced planning decisions
Since the 2005-2006 winter season, Denver has been using a Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS) to provide it with detailed information used to determine the deployment of maintenance crews. The MDSS utilizes in-ground sensors and several weather forecasting models to provide 48-hour weather forecasts and the effects of the weather on pavements specific to Denver.
“The accuracy of it is way better than national forecasting services because it’s more focused on just the city and not the surrounding area,” Kennedy said. “MDSS goes further that just predicting what the weather will be, it’s predicting what effect the weather will have on the pavement itself. It’s highly focused with a combination of weather forecasts and observations being monitored in the ground and on the ground, and also what’s happening between the pavement and the atmosphere.”
MDSS’s advanced technology has helped the city be more efficient in making winter maintenance decisions and planning for incoming storms. “There are several state DOTs using MDSS right now, but as far as cities that are using it, I think Denver is at the forefront of that,” Kennedy said.
A roadmap for the future
Kennedy said that Denver’s current system of snow and ice management has led to an overall improvement in the level of service provided to the general public and better use of the city’s resources, resulting in decreased total maintenance costs. “We don’t see a reason to change things dramatically other than to continue to fine-tune how much product we are applying and when we need to apply it,” Kennedy says. “We’re always looking at how we can maximize our resources and we just want to continue to get better.”
Article and photos contributed by EnviroTech
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