Guardrail washer promises to save district hundreds of hours,
Cleaning jersey barrier after the winter season requires a significant investment in employee time each spring in ITD districts statewide. A recent innovation by District 1 Bonners Ferry maintenance fabricator Robert Buechner (pictured below) promises to significantly reduce those hours.
The guardrail washer designed and built by Buechner allows crews to clean the top and both sides of the guardrail at the same time as the maintenance truck moves down the highway. It will remove all chloride/de-icer residue in a single pass.
"The innovation improves safety for the workers and for the traveling public by not requiring the workers to stand next to fast-moving traffic as they clean out the rail," explained District Business Operations Manager Scotty Fellom. "It also reduces labor and equipment costs, and lessens our time on the highway system administering traffic control and interrupting travel time for the motorists and impacting traffic flow."
Bonners Ferry maintenance foreman George Shutes added that it is a universal application that can be used on either side of the roadway effectively, and on any route from a two-lane road to an interstate highway.
Shutes tested it this spring on 7,870 linear feet of jersey barrier on the edge of U.S. 95 north of Bonners Ferry, from milepost 508.2 to 509.1. The section was specifically selected because it duplicated some of the terrain and guardrail quality representative of what the crew would find in other spots in the area.
The simple, safe innovation improves the appearance of the roadway, and provides a safer environment for the traveling public and for workers. It also reduces from four to two the number of people required to perform the task compared to the old way, and drastically reduces the time required for the task, from 240 hours per season to about 36.
Times 7 Focus: Ideally, these innovations will not live in a silo — they will be catalysts for ITD’s other district offices and work areas, and inspire duplication statewide. These innovations represent time and money-saving measures, process improvements, and customer-service efficiencies that are transferrable to other districts. In that spirit, if this innovation is something you’d like to adapt to your own district or work space, and you have any questions, please contact District Business Operations Manager Scotty Fellom at 1-1202.