Maintenance 2001: "Integrating Technology for Winter Road Maintenance"
This season builds on work undertaken to date, through the Maintenance 2001 banner, to evaluate and implement innovations in winter operations on Ontario highways. It marks a shift in emphasis on how the Ministry of Transportation can help its service providers meet the key objectives of:
Most project activities are conducted at Elsinore Patrol Yard, on a section of Highway 21 in the ministry's Owen Sound District. It is equipped with specialized equipment where in-house and contract staff test and monitor the effectiveness of different products or systems using video cameras, environmental sensors and trailers which measure road surface friction. A high level of staffing ensures that safe conditions are maintained throughout test operations. Tests are conducted at other locations when specific conditions are required which cannot be achieved at Elsinore. Once proven under controlled test conditions, innovations are implemented across the province using a phased approach.
A 50 km section of Highway 21, between Owen Sound and North Bruce, that includes the communities of Jackson, Alvanley, Allenford, Elsinore Chippewa Hill, Southampton and Port Elgin.
Pre-wetting: Analysis of test data and monitoring of initial implementation phase confirmed the environmental and operational benefits, under Ontario conditions, of pre-wetting road salt with small quantities of liquid de-icer.
Variable Salt Application Rates: A variable salt application rate guide was issued which allows application rates of pre-wetted salt to be varied according to weather conditions.
Combined Operations: Testing of high speed spreaders confirmed that one type of mechanical spreading device retains salt on the pavement at plowing speeds. This permits spreading and plowing to be combined into a single operation. The results are published in Transportation Research Record No. 1741, Journal of the Transportation Research Board, Washington.
AVL Monitoring: This project demonstrated the feasibility of using an Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) system to monitor road patrolling, surface temperature, spreading and plowing operations in real time, and to archive this information for future use.
System Integration: An initial step was taken to integrate the AVL system, the Advance Road Weather Information System (ARWIS), and the freeway traffic monitoring camera system (COMPASS) through a linked, password-protected, web-based display.
Fixed Automatic Spray Technology (FAST): Canada's first FAST system to distribute liquid de-icer on bridge decks proved successful in reducing winter accidents and providing operational efficiencies.
Road Surface Temperature: An initial analysis of the variance of road surface temperatures was undertaken.
DART: The De-icing Anti-icing Response Treatment (DART) software program, developed in co-operation with the AURORA group of international highway agencies, was completed as a stand-alone system. A report entitled “Expert System for Maintenance Decision Support” is available on the AURORA web site at www.aurora-program.org.
Snow Cover: An equation was developed which estimates snow cover on the road surface where friction is measured.
New technologies and innovations that prove successful are incorporated in ministry operational practices through technology transfer to the private sector.
Implementation strategies vary by location and type of service delivery, and are facilitated through:
Infra-Red Thermometers Infra-red thermometers have been installed on all patrol trucks and some spreaders to monitor road surface temperature and assist in effective winter operations decision-making.
Analysis of experimental data showed that salt consumption can be reduced by up to 20% with no loss in effectiveness if it is applied with a small quantity of liquid de-icer, known as pre-wetting. Pre-wetting was implemented at 29 patrol yards, through the use of 53 spreader trucks equipped with saddle tanks and two pre-wetted stockpiles.
An automated, bridge deck anti-icing system, using non-corrosive liquid de-icer with application triggered automatically by Advanced Road Weather Information System, has been installed on a structure at Highway 416 and Highway 401 Interchange.
Direct Liquid Application (DLA) anti-icing, using tanker trucks to apply chemical ahead of winter storms, is in progress on Highway 417 in Ottawa and on some sections of Highway 401 in Toronto.
Combination spreader/plows using Precision Placement spreaders are used to apply salt at plowing speeds on Highway 401 in the Kingston area.