Applications & Innovations
Better Roads Staff
Examining the fuel supply inside the storage tanks also gets done. Inspecting and beginning to treat the fuel for water and bacteria in underground tanks in this stage can save a lot of headaches during the active winter maintenance season.
Stage 4: Fall Preparation
This last step, from mid-September until, typically, late October, “is when we really ramp it up – where we take everything that has been done throughout the year and put it all together,” Tews says. “We start mounting the salt hoppers on the dump trucks, start testing all of the plows, and we exercise all of the equipment to make sure it’s ready to go when we need it.” All necessary calibrations, including liquids such as deicers, should be made at this stage. Once calibration is complete, any leftover repairs should be made.
Tews says some of the best ideas come from the people on the floor and from the drivers doing the work.
He recalls an equipment operator noting that he kept burning up windshield wipers because they were operating either on a fast or slow cycle. To correct the problem, the driver suggested installing wipers with a “delay” mode. “This was a great idea…so we changed,” Tews says. “We spent a little more money for wipers with a delay function, but we stopped burning out wiper blades. We look to make corrections anytime we find a problem.”
One success was a small modification made several years ago when the agency began using carbide cutting edges. Tews says although they are said “to last forever,” they vibrate. “It was like nails on a chalkboard when they were first put in use,” he says. To solve this problem, the city worked out a solution with the repairs division. “It was such a simple solution,” Tews says. “We just had an extra non-carbide tipped cutting edge mounted outside the carbide cutting edge. It stopped the vibration and protected the carbide.”
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