LRRB Update Newsletter

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February 21, 2014

Construction Zone Safety: Our Responsibility

Scott Gabrio knows the dangers of construction work zones all too well. A MnDOT maintenance worker, Scott was seriously injured when a distracted driver collided with his safety truck during a recent road patching operation. Scott’s story reminds drivers that work zones are dangerous places. In the past three years, there has been an average of 2,000 crashes and seven people killed per year in Minnesota construction zones. “When you’re out in traffic, you never know what’s going to happen,” says Scott. “No matter how hard we work at making it safe, no matter how well the work zone is set up, there is always a chance that something can go wrong.”

Scott shares his story in a YouTube video, “Construction Zone Safety: Our Responsibility.” Produced by the LRRB, the video aims to prevent similar crashes from happening in the future. “Bad things can happen in a hurry if you’re not very careful,” says J.P. Gillach, public affairs coordinator for MnDOT in District 3.

Click here to watch the video.

March 20, 2014

Concrete Re-Certification Course to be Offered Online

Beginning November 1, 2013, MnDOT’s Concrete Field Level I technician re-certification training started to be offered as an interactive online course.

The new E-Learning module provides an alternative to the eight-hour, classroom-based training. The goal is to allow MnDOT personnel, city and county staff and others to re-certify without incurring unnecessary travel costs and lost work time. In addition, students can now work at their own pace, which could lead to better learning outcomes.

“They can go back into this over and over again until they really understand the material, vs. taking the course in the traditional classroom setting,” said John Micheau, MnDOT technical certification specialist.

The online course takes approximately six hours to complete, after which learners are given one hour to complete the 50-question re-certification exam. The course and exam must be completed by April 30. Certification cards will be issued as a batch in June.

The project to move re-certification online was funded by the Local Road Research Board. Micheau said city and county engineers would like to avoid sending personnel to a one-day class that could involve traveling long distances and staying overnight at a hotel. He estimates that between 150 and 200 people will take the class each year.

In addition to being more cost-efficient, Micheau believes the online course is more attuned to the needs of a younger generation.

“We’re trying to do this for all of our re-certification courses. We just think this is the wave of the future,” he said.

Students can get more information by visiting the technical certification website. They can also visit the Aggregate & Ready Mix Association of Minnesota website to register for classes.

October 16, 2013

Aggregate Roads Dust Control – A Brief Synthesis of Current Practices

More than 50 percent of U.S. roadways are gravel roads, making them a vital part of our transportation system. One of the drawbacks and biggest complaints about gravel roads is the dust they produce when vehicles drive over them. Dust settles on homes, yards and parked cars, potentially reducing the quality of life for people who live along gravel roads. Dust can also have adverse effects on air quality and reduce safety due to drivers’ impaired vision. To control dust on gravel roads, local agencies apply various dust suppressants, mainly calcium chloride and magnesium chloride. However, many other dust suppressant options exist.

The Minnesota LRRB has developed a new document, Dust Control of Aggregate Roads, A Brief Synthesis of Current Practices , to provide local agencies with a summary of research on various dust suppressants, their effectiveness, and impacts. The report, which includes information on both Minnesota and Iowa practices, is available by clicking here. 

October 15, 2013

Complete Streets Implementation Resource Guide for Local Agencies

Complete Streets is a transportation approach that provides safe access for all street users regardless of age or ability. This movement continues to gain momentum as communities across the nation plan and design roadways that safely and efficiently accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, transit riders, and motor vehicles.

The Complete Streets Implementation Resource Guide for Minnesota Local Agencies is a new tool that helps transportation professionals, advocates, and decision makers understand and implement Complete Streets policies in their communities. Funded by the Minnesota Local Road Research Board, SRF Consulting Group, Inc. collaborated with city and county engineers, MnDOT staff, and University of Minnesota researchers to develop this comprehensive guide, which features the following information and resources: 

• Complete Streets Overview
• Local and National Best Practices
• Terms and Definitions
• Assessment of Current Practices
• Implementation Guide/Process
• Local Case Studies

The Complete Streets Implementation Resource Guide for Minnesota Local Agencies is available by clicking here.

August 20, 2013