January-February 2019 - No. 1
Focus on safety
Last year, the NDDOT State Fleet Services changed its rules to align with Vision Zero, allowing state employees to be leaders in practicing safe driving habits. Under the new rules, drivers of fleet vehicles are not allowed to use any form of smartphone operation, including hands-free calling. As phones became an integral part of our lives, they infiltrated the cabs of vehicles to the point where we accepted this distraction as the new norm. Now research and experience are showing that this new norm has some serious and dangerous consequences.

Distracted driving comes in many forms: texting, talking, sight-seeing, eating, etc. As the new year begins, use the State Fleet rules as an opportunity to evaluate and discard those "norms" that take our focus away from driving. Whether we're behind the wheel of a state fleet, personal, or company vehicle, the need to focus on driving is paramount. 

No excuses, distraction is not acceptable.  Be the change
Gravel surfacing: What's new for local roads?

Update from the Oct.-Nov. 2018 newsletter

Roadway safety is the focus of a team of DOT,AGC, NDLTAP and industry representatives as they work through gravel surfacing specification options for local agencies. "There's no question that poor gravel can produce unsafe driving conditions. The end game is better gravel for safer roads," according to Rob Rebel, Knife River Regional VP - Aggregate.

What is good gravel and how do we get there?

  • Step 1: Do not specify Class 5 for surfacing gravel. Class 5 is a drainable gravel that is meant to be placed under pavements. It is a terrible surfacing material.
  • Step 2: Know your local sources which will enable you to understand what kind of gravel can be produced, then bid in a fashion that provides a gravel that performs well.
  • Step 3: Specify and test to verify the material that you receive.

What's next? That's what the team is working on now. Last fall, we launched a Gavel Surfacing Special provision. The team used the Gravel Surfacing Special Provision (SP) as a starting point to brainstorm. The SP is a Class 13 with a plasticity index (PI specification). The team talked about PI testing, challenges to produce small quantities of binder-enhanced gravel, options to bid gradation only, specification variances across the state, prediction programs for material performance, analyzing pit log materials for aggregate production, building a North Dakota gravel road test track, and how industry can be part of the upcoming Glue for Gravel Roads Classes.

Consider registering for the Glue for Gravel Roads classes , April 30-May 2. Classes will be held in Stanley, Grand Forks and Jamestown. Register early because classes will be limited to the first 30 attendees. Download a class poster to share with others in your department.

Float, dust, wash boarding and rutting are all telltale signs that the gravel surfacing is deficient. If you see any of these signs, we recommend that you find ways to improve. Need Help? Reach out to NDLTAP and your aggregate supplier.
Jeff Iverson (left) congratulates Jeff Branko on his new position as Billings County District 1 Road Supervisor.
County staff changes

Several new staff joined county road departments across the state during the past several months. They include:
  • Shane Biggs -- Bowman County
  • Tommy Glover -- McKenzie County
  • Jesse Sedler, PE -- Richland County
  • Jeff "Ivan" Hopkins -- Ransom County

Some familiar road superintendents are retiring. Thanks for a job well done!
  • Dale Powell -- Slope County
  • Tim Lee -- Nelson County

New leaders are stepping up:
  • Nathan Miller -- Slope County Road Superintendent
  • Seth Hamry -- Nelson County Road Superintendent
  • Mike Mortenson -- Grant County Road Superintendent
  • Jeff Baranko, Billings County District 1 Road Supervisor
Links to new safety resources
Sometimes less is more. New for 2019, we stopped producing our Safety Talk newsletter and replaced it with a new "Resource" section link . The link taps into safety-related newsletters from across the nation. The link provides more topics and more options to choose from. Denise plans to provide periodic recommendations to help you find relevant topics that match your current work activities.

We are also launching NDLTAP Tailgate Safety Talks. Our plan is to lead a tailgate talk in the field with a county crew. Contact us to Lead your next safety meeting. We hope that something in our process resonates well with employee safety focus and that we can provide some new ways of delivery for you to consider adopting.

Here are some tips on how to hold a tailgate talk .
When back to gravel makes sense
Roadway development follows a logical progression: grade, gravel, and pave. But sometimes it's welcome and cost-effective to step back to gravel and replace the "Rough Road Ahead" sign with a "Pavement Ends" sign.

Some local roads should never have been paved. With others, conditions change, creating the need to evaluate the roadway surfacing and long-term strategies. Either way, the opportunity to convert a distressed paved road to an engineered gravel road is a viable option.

NDLTAP offers two resources as you consider whether to convert a distressed paved road to an engineered gravel road:

Advisory Board member spotlight: Kevin Fieldsend

  • Ramsey County Highway Superintendent
  • Originally from Park Rapids, MN.
  • Worked for Spink County (SD) for 13 years.
  • On the staff in Ramsey County for 22 years
  • Serves as first vice chair on the ND Association of Counties Board representing the ND Association of County Engineers
  • Advisory group member for the state Transportation Innovation Team (STIT)
  • Is past president and was awarded Superintendent of the Year for NDACE.
  • Represents NDACE on NDLTAP board, having served in that capacity since 2008.

Thanks, Kevin, for your sharing your time and expertise with NDLTAP!
"You Show Us" entries are all winners!

You Show Us what? Every year local government entities are encouraged to submit innovations to NDLTAP’s “You Show Us” contest. The innovations implemented in road transportation shops range from tool development to equipment modifications to processes that reduce costs, increase safety, and improve the quality of transportation. Each submission includes photos, a detailed schematic, a complete list of items used to create the innovation, and a video.

One of the incredible North Dakota innovations that placed in the 2018 contest is the “ Burke County Sign Retro-Reflectivity Assessment Tool .” A sign’s retro-reflectivity is a critical safety component for the traveling public; providing drivers the means to see traffic signs. This factor is most helpful at night and during inclement weather. A road sign’s retro-reflectivity decreases as a sign ages due to exposure to the weather and elements.  With driver safety a focus, Kenny Tetrault and Connie Howell, of the Burke County Road Crew invented a method to assess their signs. By adding a ‘new” daytime inspection test method to their sign inventory, they were able to save time and money and verify public safety. Innovation is local!

Check out the “Sign Retro-Reflectivity Assessment Tool” and other local innovation winners on the NDLTAP website or download the 2019 You Show Us brochure .
FHWA rolls out innovations

The Federal Highway Administration is in the process of rolling out 10 new Every Day Counts Innovations for 2019 – 2020 in hopes that North Dakota, and every other state, will be able to implement some of them. Recently, federal, state, city and county representatives attended a regional summit explaining the new innovations. During the summit, we realized that a couple of the innovations are already being used in North Dakota. Consequently, there should be opportunities to expand programs such as Roadway Departures Using Small Safety Improvements and Bundling of Projects. Another Innovation, Weather Responsive Management, is being used by the state and in some cities and counties with GPS tracking systems. A couple of the innovations are geared more toward larger cities and MPO’s. It's encouraging to see that FHWA is getting local governments more involved in implementing new innovations. Some of the innovations are not a good fit for North Dakota currently, but could be with more development. Read more about the innovations .
ND Road Conference Wrap-up

The North Dakota County Roads Conference in Grand Forks Jan. 29-31 was a record-breaking event, well almost! As county road crews from around the state converged on Grand Forks, sun dogs guided the way. Typically, a sun dog pair adorns the sides of the sun, but on the trip to the Conference dual sun dogs indicated just how really, really cold it was and was Nature’s way of "double dog daring" us to drive in the frigid temps. With the wind, the conditions outside were downright treacherous. It was a great trip if you like the beauty of sun dogs, but the conditions were not so great for Conference attendance. Before the weather set in, we were on track for record-breaking vendor and participant attendance. The brutal weather knocked the event back to a normal levels.  Sandy Baisch, NDLTAP’s Road Scholar champion, and Denise Brown, led NDLTAP’s main event, recognizing more than 30 Road Scholar graduates at the Awards Banquet.  Congratulations to all of the graduates!  Check out the NDLTAP Facebook post for Conference pictures. In a couple weeks, the presentations will be posted online on the ndltap event page. Mark your calendar and plan to attend next years Roads Conference in Fargo, Jan. 29-31, 2020. 
Level 1 Road Scholar graduates
Level 2 Road Scholar graduates
Traffic safety grant opportunity

AAA-The Auto Club Group (North Dakota) and a Vision Zero partner is currently accepting traffic safety grant requests up to $400 for 2019. Activities that might qualify include those addressing teen drivers; older/senior drivers; distracted driving; substance-impaired driving; school-zone safety (AAA School Safety Patrol program); and Vision Zero Community priorities. There is no deadline, but funds are limited. Allow at least four weeks for processing of the request.

Download the mini-grant opportunity from AAA North Dakota here . N ote the grant must go to a tax-exempt organization.
Who's that guy?

During development of last fall's Truck Summit, we needed a figure to use for the backing exercise. The energetic and fun-loving Barnes County crew put this goofy cutout together. Mark Verke, ND Insurance Reserve Fund, and Greg Vavra, SDLTAP, took it one step further, hauling the cutout to various events to various events for its shock value and to add a bit of humor. Not to be outdone, Sandy Baisch, NDLTAP, added a bit of PPE, turning it into a safety statement. The name tag says, "Safety Dale."
Upcoming from NDLTAP

 For a complete listing of NDLTAP training, go online to www.ndltap.org .   Upcoming events: Concrete Manholes and Inlets -- Design, Production and Installation, Feb. 19, video conference; Planning and Delivering Presentations, Feb. 26 Video Conference; Evaluation aof Asphalt Patching and crack Sealing Methods and Best Practices Manual, Feb. 27 webinar, and many more.  
NDLTAP is looking for individuals who are willing to share their knowledge and skills with others across the state. Perhaps you'd like to share a unique experience or approach that worked particularly well for your agency or department. We are constantly on the lookout for experts to write articles or to make presentations at our events and conferences. If that sound's interesting, let's talk. NDLTAP has a wide array of options.

Be safe!
Our Mission

To foster safe, efficient, environmentally sound, and cost effective North Dakota highway, road, and street systems by exchanging transportation technology with North Dakota's local units of government and transportation community through training, technical assistance, and information services as part of the US FHWA's nationwide LTAP network.
Contact us @ NDLTAP 515 1/2 E Broadway, Ste 101, Bismarck ND 58501 -
(701) 328-9855 or ndltap@ugpti.org
NDSU does not discriminate in its programs and activities on the basis of age, color, gender expression/identity, genetic information, marital status, national origin, participation in lawful off-campus activity, physical or mental disability, pregnancy, public assistance status, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, spousal relationship to current employee, or veteran status, as applicable. Direct inquiries to: Vice Provost, Title IX/ADA Coordinator, Old Main 201, 701-231-7708, ndsu.eoaa@ndsu.edu .