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Investigate plow blade optimization : executive summary.
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    Snow and ice management is the single largest expenditure in the maintenance budget for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), with an annual cost including labor, equipment, and materials reaching approximately $86 million. Given the current financial climate, it is essential to minimize costs while simultaneously maximizing efficiency, especially for winter maintenance operations. The main technique employed by ODOT for removing accumulated snow from roadways is by using snow plows and snow plow blades, or cutting edges. The plow blade, which is bolted to the snow plow, is the component of the plowing system that makes contact with the roadway surface. Multiple blades are currently on the market that may last longer than flame-hardened steel blades, which are the standard blades that ODOT is currently using. ODOT was encouraged to pursue further research to compare the cost-effectiveness of using the specialty blades in place of the standard blades and to identify safe and efficient procedures for replacing the standard blades that are currently in use. As with any new equipment, a thorough assessment of the various specialty blades is needed in order to determine which, if any, of the specialty blades are prudent to implement in ODOT’s winter maintenance fleet.
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