About a year ago, the traffic engineering division in Anchorage had a problem. They had to keep track of 65,000 street signs, and the outdated paper-based tracking system in place violated the municipal code that required the department to maintain accurate, up-to-date records of its traffic-control devices. They needed a cost-effective way to digitally inventory the significant supply of signs and signals.

The team filled the gap with GeoResults Mobile custom GIS software, developed by Olympia, Wash.-based Marshall, and iX104C3 mobile tablet PCs, from Austin, Texas-based Xplore Technologies. Thanks to a $1.5 million state grant—and cheap labor by 11 summer interns hitting the pavement with the tablets—Anchorage was able to catalog the signs quickly. Their efforts began in June, and the data collection was completed by the end of August.

According to associate traffic engineer Lee Coop, the effort has made the city's sign management efforts much more effective and flexible.

“One of the biggest deals is our ability to track costs related to a specific asset,” he says. “Another is being able to schedule maintenance.”

Now that the legwork is done and the signs inventoried, Anchorage can move to the next phase: implementing a comprehensive asset management system.

Custom reflective signs

The company can make highly reflective signs—using high-performance material from 3M—to your specifications. The diamond-grade signs can be made with a self-adhesive material, or laminated to a metal substrate, in sizes up to 26 in. Choose from an array of colors to create up to six-color combinations. The resulting product is durable, and visible at night or in severe weather conditions. Almetek Industries. www.almetek.com.

Graffiti-fighting towels

TWL-200 premoistened towels safely and quickly remove paint, ink, permanent markers, and other types of graffiti from signs and nearly any other non-porous surface. The treatment chemical is nontoxic, nonflammable, odorless, and environmentally friendly. The towels feature two textures: one side has an abrasive but nonscratching surface to remove tough, ground-in stains; and the other is an absorbent material to soak up liquid and leftover residue. SEI Chemical. www.seichemical.com.

Reflective post panels

Enhance the visibility of any sign with these reflective panels, which attach to any new or existing U-channel post. The product consists of a highly reflective, diamond-grade material in red, blue, yellow-green, and red/white striped versions. Each measures 336 inches and includes mounting hardware. Lordon Inc. www.britesidepanels.com.

Retroreflective sheeting

The company offers 7000 Series fluorescent prismatic retroreflective sheeting for all types of signs. The material's color contrast and brightness offer excellent visibility throughout the day, particularly at sunrise and dusk, when the majority of traffic fatalities occur. Each color provides a longer distance for drivers and pedestrians to view, recognize, and maneuver safely. All of the colors meet or exceed all sign-related specifications and regulations. Airmaster Sales. www.airmastersales.com.

Multigas detector

The G450 detector works extremely well in confined-space applications. The compact, robust product can measure CO2, H2S, O2, and combustibles in ambient air. The housing is watertight and impact-resistant, which enables the unit to withstand harsh environments. The interchangeable battery pack delivers up to 25 continuous hours of operation. GfG Instrumentation Inc. www.gfg-inc.com.

Powerhouse brush chipper

The 1890XP brush chipper has an 18-in. feed capacity and 180-hp engine. Fully loaded, the unit weighs approximately 9600 lbs. The hydraulic-feed drum chipper has a feature that allows for proper air flow through the discharge and enables chips stuck in the housing to escape. The design makes the chipper highly resistant to plugging and improves the machine's fuel economy. A hydraulic winch is optional. Bandit Industries Inc. www.banditchippers.com.

Landscape fabric

The company's professional-grade landscape fabrics are designed for weed and erosion control, ground cover, soil separation, and other applications. Both woven and nonwoven versions are offered for landscaping, roadside installation, and other uses. Hanes Engineered Materials. www.hanesindustries.com.

High-performance sweeper belt

The company's Pelican and Eagle broom sweepers now feature a high-performance chevron belt, which helps improve debris pickup, extend machine life, and quiet operation. The belt throws debris into the center of the hopper for more even, efficient filling. In addition, the angled cleat allows the belt to move over the rollers without the loud thumping associated with standard conveyors. The belt is made of a durable, stretch-resistant poly/ nylon fabric for improved tracking. Elgin Sweeper, a subsidiary of Federal Signal. www.elginsweeper.com.

Concrete repair

ICO Gel is an odorless epoxy-patching compound suitable for repairing vertical and overhead eroded concrete surfaces, cracks and gouges on floors, corners of block, and concrete walls. The compound does not require a prime coat, and it offers excellent adhesion to both damp and dry surfaces. The product is a 3-gal. kit consisting of a resin, hardener, and filler. It comes in regular-, medium-, or fast-cure versions. International Coatings. www.internationalcoatings.com.