Highway Technology Officials Meet

K. Patricia Bouweraerts
LTAP Western Regional Meeting Image

The Western Regional Meeting of LTAP, June 5 session, at the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino.

The Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) at Truckee Meadows Community College—one of 51 such U.S. highway technology training centers—is hosting for the first time a June meeting for representatives of LTAP centers from nine western states.

Each state has an LTAP, as well as Puerto Rico, a U.S. commonwealth. The centers are typically located at state highway departments or universities. Nevada is unique, with its LTAP headquartered at a community college—TMCC has been the state LTAP site for close to six years.

The Western Regional Meeting takes place on June 5–6 at the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino, and is hosted by Nevada LTAP's TMCC Program Manager Randy Bowling, PE, and Jim Nichols, Program Director.

Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) Director Rudy Malfabon, PE, will offer the introduction.

“The Federal Highway Administration will be phoning in to give updates related to highway technology and safety, the national LTAP representative Donna Shea is flying in from Connecticut, and state LTAP program directors or their assistants from Alaska, Washington, California, Arizona, Utah, Idaho and Nevada are attending,” Bowling said.

State LTAPS will give a presentation on what they’ve accomplished in best practices related to training and administration. They will also address 10 discussion items that are common issues for the centers.

“It’s a working session where we’ll talk about where the successes are, and areas to pursue growth,” Bowling said. “There are networking opportunities between the centers, especially to learn new things, for example innovative practices in winter safety for roadways including liquid brine or other materials.”

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Technology Development

TMCC is an important contributor to the tech side of highway development and maintenance, for example in the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

“We have a UAV, I have a certificate to fly it, and we’ve been demonstrating ways that a UAV can greatly improve efficiency and accuracy for transportation agencies,” Bowling said.

The NDOT maintenance facility in Gardnerville, Nevada contains large outdoor stockpiles of aggregate materials needed for highway upkeep and construction.

“In order for them to carry out their work plan, they have to know how much material they have,” Bowling said. “I flew the UAV over, it took photographs during a 10-minute flight, I made the calculations, and they had the information they needed by noon.”

Without a UAV, the work takes one-and-a-half to two days, performed by a land surveyor with measuring tape and visual estimation, or a survey crew that completes field work with measuring instruments and performs the calculations after returning to their offices.

More About LTAP Centers

LTAPs started in the 1990s as centers for technical training, designed to help cities and counties with road and highway management, safety and maintenance, including the following focus areas:

  • Infrastructure management; technical developments for maintaining roads in good condition
  • Work zone safety; procedures to keep highway workers and flaggers safe during construction
  • Workforce development; skill training in subjects such as practical math
  • Organizational excellence; leadership development

TMCC hosts about 40 full-day trainings each year for state, county and local transportation employees. Classes such as asphalt paving, concrete technology, and transportation leadership are taught by experts from across the U.S.; instructors travel to TMCC from other states, depending on their specialty.

Bowling teaches classes including practical math and mathematical estimation. TMCC Safety Center Program Manager Scott Alquist teaches courses on summer and winter survival. Nevada LTAP at TMCC has also held customized training for NDOT on roadside safety when it comes to airborne pathogens found in material discarded or accidentally released near highways. Custom-built courses can be designed to fit the needs of public or private agencies.

For more information about Nevada LTAP at TMCC, please call 775-829-9046.