Councilors have approved entering into a grant agreement with the state Department of Transportation to purchase special Automated Vehicle Locating equipment to help with chloride reduction on Interstate 93.
In their May 16 meeting, councilors agreed for the town to enter into an agreement with the state DOT to purchase the AVL equipment for nine vehicles for three years of service at an overall cost of $47,500, Public Works Director Michael Fowler said. The grant covers 80 percent, or $38,000 of the cost, with the town responsible for the remaining $9,500 or 20 percent of the cost, Fowler said.
In addition to entering into the grant agreement, Town Administrator David Caron was authorized to apply for, accept and expend such funds derived from Round 4 of the Implementation – Chloride Reduction I-93 Municipal Program grant, according to officials.
With the AVL system, the town would be provided with a record of where their vehicles are in real time.
The project is part of an ongoing program to support chloride reduction in the I-93 corridor. The largest source of chloride is from road salt, according to state environmental officials.
In addition to providing the town with a record of where the vehicles are in real time, the system will provide a record of where they were at specific times during the operations.
In addition, they are equipped with technology to prevent overlap of salt routes by automatically shutting off the spreader as it passes over areas previously salted within a given period of time, by another vehicle or the subject vehicle, Fowler said.
During questioning by Councilor Richard Tripp, Flower explained how the AVL equipment is used.
“It’s just a tool for us to be able to track our vehicles and also to know that we are putting adequate rates down or we aren’t overlapping and wasting the salt,” Fowler said.
For the past seven years, the NHDOT has been looking at ways to reduce salt usage in I-93 corridor
Four communities – Salem, Windham, Londonderry and Derry – were given access to grant funds in first three rounds, Fowler said.
Providing background on the project, Fowler wrote in a staff report that the town adopted a salt management plan in 2010 for the purpose of chloride reduction in the I-93 corridor.
By adopting the salt management plan, the town was eligible for grant funding to upgrade equipment used in winter operations, Fowler wrote. In 2010, the Town Council approved Round 1 for the purchase of a five-ton truck, with the town responsible for 20 percent of the cost and the state responsible for the remaining 80 percent, Fowler wrote. In Round two, the council approved the purchase of two additional trucks under the same cost share formula. In 2013, the council approved the purchase of two additional one-ton trucks under the same cost share formula, Fowler said in the report.
Fowler wrote that AVL systems are used in a number of applications in the transport industry. Recently, several state transportation agencies have implemented AVL technology for winter operations, Fowler wrote.