Four resources for the men and machines who keep us safe.
Adobe Stock/Dragos Iliescu Four resources for the men and machines who keep us safe.

Who sez the federal and local governments can't resolve a common problem?! For at least two decades, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and state DOTs have collaborated on issues, mainly by studying them. Under the Transportation Pooled Fund (TPF) program, states kick in 20% toward the cost of researching a particular topic (waivers are possible) and FHWA pays the rest.

There are hundreds of pooled funds. One is Clear Roads, launched in 2004 to evaluate winter maintenance materials, equipment, and methods in actual operating conditions. Virtually all -- 36 -- of the 38 states that get snow participate; and the website is a treasure trove of information about a topic that affects three-quarters of the nation's public works departments. How to reduce plow operator fatigue. Write better contracts. Calibrating material spreaders. I could go on and on.

Cities and counties can't join or belong to Clear Roads, but they can get support. This project culminated in 22 FREE training modules for snowplow operators and supervisors. The only catch is you must contact someone to access them: Clear Roads Administrator Greg Waidley at 608-490-0552 or [email protected]. But don't worry: I talked to him, and he's a nice guy.

Other resources he told me about:

I found Clear Roads because I was doing some research related to an article being written by a public works supervisor in Illinois. He probably knows all about Clear Roads; but I didn't, so I'm sharing the wealth.