• PUBLIC WORKS Article Links: April 2008

  • Adventures in Facebook

  • Mobile Communications Equipment April 2008

    Today's generation of two-way radios provides more than just voice communication. Depending on budget and need, a department can add capability ranging from GPS tracking to remote monitoring and control of plant operations.

  • Eliminate Guesswork

    Facing growing pressure to bring projects in on budget, transportation managers?such as those at the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA)?have found that using off-the-shelf spreadsheet and database applications like Microsoft's Excel and Access are no longer robust enough to estimate the...

  • Internet Interception

    After several failed attempts, federal legislation that would allow small cities and counties to provide their own high-speed Internet service is likely to become law.

  • Slippery Slope

    The constant pummeling of snow and record-low temperatures throughout the Midwest, Northeast, and Canada this winter made for one big quandary: shortages in rock salt, the deicing staple of public works departments far and wide.

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    Making the Grade

    When summer heads into fall, Gilliam County activities are fairly typical of Oregon's rural communities: Wheat farmers prepare for harvest, fly fishers ready for spawning season, and the county's road crew works its one-of-a-kind “gravel reclaimer.”

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    PW Products

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    Warming Trend

    A paving material that promises excellent performance, environmental benefits, and reduced cost, warm-mix asphalt (WMA) is generating enthusiasm among transportation managers. Though still largely confined to trial and demonstration projects in the United States, prospects seem favorable for it to...

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    Loud and Clear

    Frequent battery replacements, missed calls, and garbled messages meant just one thing to Albert Brunson, head of public building equipment maintenance for Cumberland County, N.C.: time to update his mobile communications system.

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    Clean Sweeps

    Controlling snow and ice requires balancing three, not quite equal, goals: meet the public's need to travel safely, avoid harmful environmental impacts, and keep costs in line.

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    Locked Out

    Ten years ago, security at most mid-sized water treatment plants was little more than a locked door. Today, water and wastewater utilities are doing their best to protect the vulnerabilities of systems that spread out over literally millions of miles.

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    Power to the Pickup

    To this writer's eyes, the biggest news to come out of this year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit was that two major light-duty truck manufacturers introduced new models.

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    Test Results: Inconclusive

    The lack of uniformity in testing procedures from state to state is fueling the need to establish standardized testing procedures for modified asphalt across all 50 states.

  • Campaign Touts Plastic Pipe

    In 2007, Cascade, Idaho, began to replace its entire crack-ridden concrete, steel, and cast iron drinking water system with high density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe. The leaky system was taking its toll on residents, who paid $2.50/1,000 gallons of water in 2007—up from 73 cents in 1993.

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    DOE Funds Solar Cities

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) now provides funding for up to 12 cities that demonstrate a commitment to building a sustainable solar infrastructure.

  • Hello, Green Brick Road

    Chicago isn't the only “green” city in the Midwest (see “The trickle-down effect,” May 2007, page 36). In Warrenville, located 30 miles west of the Windy City, a plan to improve water quality has resulted in a new way of reconstructing the city's streets.

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    Feds Target Rural Roads

    The U.S. DOT is making $287 million available to revitalize a national strategy for reducing deaths on rural roads, which account for 57% of all fatal crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

  • Water Journeys from Sea to Sink

    Wholesale supplier Tampa Bay Water has begun selling water produced by the nation's largest reverse-osmosis seawater desalination facility. So far, the customers are public utilities in Florida's Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas counties and the cities of New Port Richey, St. Petersburg, and Tampa.

  • History-making Union Celebrates Milestone

    February marked the 10th anniversary of the nation's largest public-private partnership for municipal wastewater operations.

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    Composite Bridge Passes Tough Test

    A full-size locomotive pulling 26 heavy-axle-load coal cars has traversed the world's first composite railroad bridge, opening up the possibility that the corrosion-resistant material is just as viable an option as concrete and steel beams for highway bridges.

  • PW Briefs

    By 2030, the U.S. population is expected to grow by 63 million. To recognize environmentally friendly development efforts of new houses, buildings, and roads by using concrete and cement-based products, the Portland Cement Association has launched the Sustainable Leadership Awards. Visit

  • Homeland Superfluous

    Remember when getting there was half the fun? Not anymore.

  • The Only Constant is Change

    There are four basic personality types when it comes to change. Knowing how each interprets and responds to change is the key to successfully managing change.