RoadWorks: Vertical Wind Power
There are no propellers. It is a cylinder, and wind blows against the turbine’s vertical foils, causing them to spin. It costs about $6,000, roughly the same as three solar panels and it produces what those panels would produce. It is, of course, far safer for birds.
“Every penny we spend powering lights is not putting asphalt on the roads or buying fuel,” says NDOT Communications and Network Manager David Loar. “The less we spend on electrical power, the more we benefit and the better we can keep our highways maintained. The advantage with wind turbines is that they can run 24 hours a day. There is also a 20-year maintenance free warranty on the turbines while a solar panel’s useful lifespan is about 20 years.”
The vertical windmill is 20-feet high, supported by a 6-foot square concrete base. It generates a maximum of 1,200 watts of power. It has magnetic instead of traditional mechanical bearings which reduce friction, allowing the turbine to spin in very low winds.
The windmill, technically a “wind turbine,” sits on top of northwest Nevada’s nearly 9,000-foot Fox Mountain and provides back-up energy for a radio communications site. It is part of an ongoing NDOT program that investigates potential alternative energy sources that will both help the environment and save the department money.v
Join a National Study: ‘Chemical Treatments for Unpaved Roads’
Montana State University’s Western Transportation Institute (WTI) is conducting a survey as part of The National Scan of Best Practices for Chemical Treatments on Unpaved Roads and is seeking survey participants.
This survey takes about 20 minutes and is intended for practitioners, decision-makers and
researchers involved in unpaved road management. A diverse team of stakeholders under the sponsorship of Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the coordination of the WTI – developed the survey.
Participation in the anonymous survey will assist FHWA in identifying future research and documentation needs pertaining to effective and sustainable use of chemical treatments on unpaved roads.
To take the survey, go to www.roaddustinstitute.org. The survey link will remain active though Jan. 31.
For more information on the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University, go to www.westerntransportationinstitute.org.
Could the bidding goalposts be moving?
Goal posts are a simple metaphor. When you are bidding for highway construction jobs, where they are is important. So is any possibility of their being moved.
Victor Mendez, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) administrator, told a room crowded with representatives of companies that build concrete highways that he senses there may be some sort of goalpost creep when it comes to the future of highway construction job bids. Responding to questions at the annual meeting of the American Concrete Pavement Association in Orlando, Fla., Mendez said “there’s a lot of discussion about moving towards a performance management basis.”
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