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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Focus > May 1996 > Snow and Ice Control Workshops Up and Running
May 1996Publication Number: FHWA-SA-96-016

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Snow and Ice Control Workshops Up and Running

To get a head start on what next winter may bring, State highway maintenance managers and operators have been attending Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) snow and ice control showcase workshops to learn about innovative technologies that can help them plow snow and treat roads more effectively.

The pilot workshop was held in West Lafayette, Indiana, in January. Subsequent workshops have been held in Texas, Washington, and Arizona. Participants have come from the host States and the highway agencies of neighboring States. FHWA plans to hold at least six more workshops this year.

"The purpose of the workshops is to bring the States up to speed on the winter maintenance technologies developed under the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) and describe how these technologies can be used to improve winter maintenance operations," says Salim Nassif, project manager of the workshops at FHWA. He adds, "FHWA is prepared to provide technical assistance tailored to the States' needs to help them incorporate these technologies into their winter maintenance programs."

The workshops cover the following topics:

  • Road weather information systems (RWIS).
  • Customized weather prediction systems.
  • Anti-icing strategies.
  • Handbook of Test Methods for Evaluating Chemical Deicers.*
  • Chemical and mechanical ice disbonding.
  • Snow drift control using snow fences.
  • Snowplow cutting edge.
  • Snowplow scoop and snowplow design.

RWIS, weather prediction systems, and anti-icing strategies are covered on the first day. Day two takes up the remaining technologies and ends with a discussion of participants' experience with and questions about winter maintenance techniques and equipment.

Workshop presenters discuss the results of SHRP research, review how each technique or piece of equipment is used, and, where appropriate, give an assessment of its cost-effectiveness. The showcase also covers the status of test and evaluation projects involving the SHRP snow and ice control strategies and products, including the recently concluded 2-year anti-icing test and evaluation project (TE28).

The snow and ice control workshops have been extremely useful, according to Lauren Garduño, Abilene district maintenance engineer at the Texas Department of Transportation (DOT), who coordinated and attended the showcase held there in February. "We're at a critical stage in this State on snow and ice control, particularly anti-icing," he says. "The conference provided timely information on the benefits and quality of anti-icing materials and their uses."

The workshops give equal coverage to all winter maintenance technologies developed or evaluated under SHRP. However, participants seem particularly interested in anti-icing operations, observes principal instructor Doug Jonas of Matrix Management Group, which is presenting the workshops under a contract with FHWA. "The focus of interest in winter maintenance is anti-icing," he says. "Because of the close functional relationship, RWIS is also drawing a considerable amount of interest."

The next snow and ice control workshop showcases will be held May 16-17 in Trenton, New Jersey, and June 25-26 in Lexington, Kentucky. For more information, contact Salim Nassif, FHWA, 202-366-1557 (fax: 202-366-9981).

* Available from the Transportation Research Board Business Office, 202-334-3214 (fax: 202-334-2519).

Updated: 04/07/2011

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