The RCKC operates on a lean operations staff of approximately 25-30 Road Maintenance Operators (RMO). With 1,269 miles of jurisdiction, efficient and effective practices are high priority.
When it comes to winter maintenance operations and winter weather storm response, we know that time is of the essence. With these priorities at the forefront, an idea was brought forward by Road Maintenance Superintendent Will Engel: Creating optimized routes using Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
The comprehensive navigation systems provides turn-by-turn directions to the RMOs out on the road. In addition to the optimized routing, the technology also allows for operators to assist one another with ease. The licenses held for the products are used through iPads, which has rapidly expanded into a multi-use tool for operations.
The safety improvement grant awarded a total of $333,000 federal dollars to the RCKC for the purchase and installation of preemption devices on Sprinkle Road, a high-volume corridor of the county’s road system. The preemption devices are a collaborative tool installed on the traffic signal and on emergency response vehicles. For our specific project the devices will be installed on emergency vehicles from Comstock Township Fire Department. The devices will assist with changing upcoming signals to green to reduce emergency response times and potential intersection crashes with cross-traffic. This communal effort is unique as it’s the first of its kind to be granted funding to a road agency on the basis of safety improvement and on such an extensive corridor.
This technology propels the RCKC forward toward national priorities such as Connected Vehicles, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), and Smart City technology for the benefit of safety and efficiency of all roadway users. The grant was officially awarded by MDOT on December 2, 2020. Planning will continue to take place throughout 2021 and construction will begin in 2022.
When Covid-19 restrictions went into place in March of 2020 it provided an opportunity for agencies everywhere to rethink the way business is conducted. Per the RCKC policy, Project Informational Meetings are required for projects that have an estimated cost over $500,000 and/or have substantial impact, like a primary road with planned closures of over two weeks. Historically these meetings had been held in person at the RCKC facility or at a Township hall, and generally on an evening to accommodate citizens work schedules. With all operations mobilized and social distancing restrictions in place, the Project Informational Meetings had to be reimagined.
The first meeting took place on May 13, 2020. Every Wednesday from May 13 through June 24 a project informational meeting was hosted virtually during the designated timeframe of 12:00pm-1:00pm. Each meeting had a few attendees present, which was expected attendance for an in-person meeting, too. To maximize the visibility of the information the meetings were recorded and then the link to view it was posted on the projects page of our website. This was incredibly helpful for those who wanted to learn more about the project but couldn’t make it to the live meeting. We will continue to host the Project Informational Meetings virtually moving forward as a new best practice for the agency. Informations Meetings can be found on the projects page.