Congratulations to this year’s Build a Better Mousetrap award recipients, who came up with creative innovations to solve everyday transportation challenges. This year’s winners include:
- The City of Rochester (first place) for its plow truck pre-wet nurse tank, which enables drivers to apply salt through an entire plow event by using all brine carried on the truck.
- Crow Wing County (tie for second place) for its Snow Removal Status app, which lets residents check plows’ locations and see which roads have been cleared.
- Lake of the Woods County (tie for second place) for a shear attachment that makes it safer and faster for staff to remove trees or open rights-of-way.
This year’s runners-up are:
- Crow Wing County for a sandbag quick-filler, which allows one person to complete this work themselves—saving both time and money.
- Crow Wing County for its Pick A Mile, a roadside cleanup program that lets residents sign up online, recognizes them for this work, and tracks which roads have been cleaned.
- Lake of the Woods County for a modified bulldozer blade, which staff attached to an excavator—making it faster and easier to open snow-laden ditches to prevent spring flooding.
First- and second-place winners were awarded $450 and $350 Visa gift cards for their departments. All submissions advance to the national Build a Better Mousetrap recognition program—hosted by the Federal Highway Administration—where they compete against departments from across the country.
The Minnesota competition is sponsored by the Minnesota Local Road Research Board and administered by Minnesota LTAP.