Archives: December 2017
December 28, 2017
We all want the same thing. Every customer on Iowa’s transportation system wants to get where they want to go, when they want to get there – no hold ups, no brake lights, no screeching tires. We count on our transportation system to run like a well-oiled machine. Heavy traffic, winter weather, construction season – none of that should slow us down.
But the smooth flow of traffic is much more than the convenience of getting you where you want to go. A transportation system with fewer slowdowns gets items to store shelves more efficiently and cost-effectively, most of all, provides an increased level of safety.
December 28, 2017
The hustle and bustle of the holidays is nearly over. As Iowans, we know what comes next. The seemingly long, cold, and dreary winter. Although some people, including many of our own Iowa Department of Transportation snowfighters, love to see winter in full swing, now is a good time to brush up on those winter driving skills around snowplows.
Craig Bargfrede, Iowa DOT winter operations administrator, says the main rule to keep both you and our drivers safe is, “Don’t crowd the plow.”
December 27, 2017
Wouldn’t it be great if we all got to come to work every day and pursue the things that matter most to us? Our team in the Office of Location and Environment is a group of individuals working toward the common goals of advancing transportation while preserving and protecting Iowa’s ecosystems.
Looking after the environment isn’t just an Iowa DOT activity for many of our employees. Several of these dedicated people spend their free time volunteering for programs and projects that make a difference in the world around us. Not to pick on just one of these folks, but here’s the story of how Mark Sloppy, environmental specialist senior, spent a weekend in September.
December 26, 2017
December 25, 2017
Luckily, seat belts save thousands of lives every year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says in 2015, seat belt use in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 13,941 lives in the United States. While nearly 90.1 percent of all drivers in our country buckle up, there are still 27.5 million people each year who risk their lives by not taking two seconds to click that buckle.
December 19, 2017
Many times barriers are seen as keeping you from something. However, barriers can often be a good thing, especially when they work to keep snow off the roads. For the past several years, the Iowa Department of Transportation has worked with farmers and asked them to consider planting corn that can be left in fields during the winter to serve as snow fences that slow down or stop snow from blowing and drifting across the road. More recently, this cooperative effort has included using round bales as snow fences, as well.
The decades-old “standing corn” program has recently been updated to pay farmers $2 over market value (as set on Sept. 1) per bushel of corn for leaving eight to 16 rows standing in a field where those stalks might reduce the amount of snow on the adjacent road. For round bales, we will pay landowners $1 per linear foot. The landowner agrees to leave the bales intact in the field throughout the winter. Ideal locations would be plots of land along U.S. or state highways where the terrain is open and flat.
December 18, 2017
We’re serious about getting you to put down your phone when you’re behind the wheel. So serious that we’re not dog daring you, or even double dog daring you. Please excuse our slight breach of etiquette by skipping the triple dare and going right for the throat, the “triple dog dare,” the most serious of all dares.
December 13, 2017
December 12, 2017
When he was in third grade, a janitor at Steve Timmerman’s elementary school gave him a 48-star flag. It was 1959 and Alaska had just become a state, so the school was getting the new 49-star version. When he started looking around at other flags, Timmerman noticed there were several different styles of 48-star flags.
In the years since he was given his first flag, Timmerman, a 45-year Iowa Department of Transportation employee, continued to collect 48-star versions from wherever he could. In doing some research, he found out the 48-star flag was official from 1912 until 1959, but that there were multiple 48-star patterns made. He found some with odd star patterns and then one with gold colored stars, instead of the typical white.The gold star flag intrigued him so he began digging deeper, but could not get any definite answers as to why the stars were a different color.
December 11, 2017
Wherever you are, you have a reason to be there. Maybe you want to see your family or buy a sweater or see a movie or look at Christmas lights – whatever your reason, you likely have a destination or purpose in mind whenever you get behind the wheel.
Ok, so driving around looking at Christmas lights might not be your “destiny,” but unless you make it home safely when you’ve had your fill of the Griswold’s holiday display, you might never find that loftier purpose in life.