Magnet Snowplow Guidance System
Snowplow operators, with the limited visibility caused by winter conditions, often don’t know their exact location in the roadway. They have to drive at speeds great enough to effectively remove snow, while remaining alert for roadside obstacles and obstructions. Low visibility and the absence of distinct cues that delineate the road decrease the snowplow’s speed and efficiency. Some of Alaska’s mountain passes receive more than 45 feet of annual snowfall and suffer whiteout conditions. Consequently, snowplow operators use the guardrail for guidance by riding with the snowplow blade, snugged up against the guardrail. That practice makes clearing the snow from the roadway take more time and wreaks expensive havoc on the guardrail. Maintenance and Operations forces have to replace a lot of guardrail each summer, only to ruin it again over the course of winter.
One new intelligent transportation system product is magnetic guidance system (MGS) for vehicles. The MGS is a series of magnetic markers or magnetic strips that serve as a roadway reference, plus vehicle-borne sensing and processing units that obtain information from the roadway magnetic reference.
ADOT&PF installed a MGS from 3M Inc. in a road rehabilitations project in Thompson Pass on the Richardson Highway near Valdez. Thompson Pass has guardrail, some of the highest snowfall in the state, blowing conditions and low visibility.
ADOT&PF installed the 3M magnetic tape strips near Valdez in 2002.
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