Mike Anderson’s American Iron
Better Roads Staff
New year = new equipment innovations to come. That’s an equation sure to add up to more productive jobsites for road construction agencies and contractors. With World of Concrete this month and World of Asphalt in March, the annual rush of new products and services is upon us. We will not only report on them in the pages of Better Roads, but we want to know what you – the users and ultimate jury of the technologies – feel about them.
Last month, in our annual subjective celebration of the year that was, we chronicled the 2011 Top Rollouts. If you read the blurbs on the 20 introductions that stood out for us over the last 12 months, you undoubtedly realize this is a process the Better Roads’ editors enjoy. Heck, we have a little fun with it. But please let that not hide the fact we do think long and hard about what ultimately ends up on those pages each December. It’s important to you, so it’s important to us, and we don’t take that responsibility lightly at all. So much so that questions were being asked, answers debated and ultimately alterations made right up until the proverbial ink was drying on the December issue.
At this point, I’d be remiss not to point out the efforts – day in, day out; year in, year out – of executive editor Tina Grady Barbaccia and her dogged efforts to keep up with every new product, service and trend hitting your industry.
In recapping what stood out for us over the past year, we always try to keep in mind what we consider to be the true crux of the matter – the need to look ahead. The award-winning products will end up on your jobsites – they might even be there now – and we’d like to know how you will be able to use them to complete jobs safer, quicker and more cost-efficiently.
In working through the candidates for the 2011 Top Rollouts, we were reminded of this when re-reading a September Applications and Innovations story written by Tina. She chronicled the North Texas Tollway Authority’s use of the Mobile Barrier Trailer (MBT), an integrated, rigid-wall trailer that is simply pulled into place on the highway by a standard semi-tractor, providing a one-piece work zone barrier. This product has been accepted by the Federal Highway Administration for use on the National Highway System. Back in 2009, it earned a Top Rollout award for its manufacturer, Mobile Barriers of Golden, Colorado.
Again, can’t wait to see where the 2011 Top Rollouts end up.