Cornell Local Roads Program

Cornell Local Roads Program Build a Better Mousetrap Competition

Have you or one of your co-workers built an innovative gadget or developed an improved way to do a job? Well, now is the time to show off a project your agency is proud of in our Build a Better Mousetrap Competition! 


We are looking for something that you, your employees, or crew designed and built; it can be anything from the development of tools or equipment modifications, to a new process that increases safety, reduces costs, improves efficiency and/or improves the quality of transportation.

This year’s state competition winners will be presented with their award on stage at the June 2019 Highway School in front of over 700 of their peers!

State winners will also be featured in our Summer Nuggets & Nibbles newsletter and be automatically entered into a national competition. All of the 2019 entries will be highlighted at Highway School and be featured on our website.

Thank You to all those who entered this years competition! Stay tuned for our announcement of the winners at the 2019 Highway School!

Questions? Give us a call at 607-255-8033 or email us at clrp@cornell.edu

What Should I Submit?

All local transportation agencies in New York State are welcome to enter and departments may submit more than one entry. We are looking for something that you or your employees designed, built, or implemented. Entries can be anything from the tool or equipment modifications, to a new process that increases safety, reduces costs, improves efficiency, or improves the quality of transportation

Remember, we are looking for self-made creative projects developed in-house but your submissions do not necessarily have to be physical modifications to equipment or “gadgetry.” New methods of using technology, an innovative way to manage assets, or a useful strategy for dealing with the public can all be great innovations!

Please include high-quality digital images with your entry. Videos are also encouraged and are worth points in the national competition.

Not sure what to submit? Check out some examples here or check out last year's submissions below.

2019 Build A Better Mousetrap Entries

Rockland County Highway Department

Entry Name:
Plow Blade Guide and Carrier

Describe the problem or issue that led to the idea:
Two men struggling to put a snow plow blade on a plow while holding the blade and trying two put the bolts in to hold the first blade of a two blade system

Describe your solution, innovation, or idea:
We came up with a set of pins that slide through the back of the mold board of the plow so when you put on your new blade you slide it on to pins to help hold and place the top blade on.

What labor, equipment, and/or materials were used:
Our welder to cut hear and bend 1/2" round stock

What was the cost (if any):
All work performed by highway workers and used scrap



Thurston Highway Department

Entry Name
Excavator wing

Describe the problem or issue that led to the idea:
There were high drift areas where it was hard to get the snow pushed back with the trucks. We can now push back the snow on high banks and across wide ditches with no problem. The snow can easily be pushed back 15'-20' beyond the ditches.

Describe your solution, innovation, or idea:
We fabricated a mount on an old excavator to hook into it. After using it a few times we realized we needed to add an extension to the top of the wing to minimize the amount of snow going over it.

What labor, equipment, and/or materials were used:
We spent a couple of days with three men welding and cutting most of the steel we had in stock.

What was the cost (if any):
There was very little out of pocket expenditure.

Town of Ramapo Highway Department

Entry Name: Salt Brine Applicator for Sidewalks

Describe the problem or issue that led
to the idea:
We are responsible for snow and ice control for all the sidewalks within our town. Typically, doing this during storms with plows and blowers. The sidewalks are heavily used and we get lots of complaints about ice.

Describe your solution, innovation, or idea:
We came up with a convenient way to apply salt brine solution to the sidewalks to prevent bonding of ice.

What labor, equipment, and/or materials were used:
Two mechanics at our parks department took a maintenance cart, mounted a water tank on the back, and made a gravity feed system using hosing, valves, and PVC piping.

What was the cost (if any):
All of the materials were available to us in our shop at the time

Video Available Here

 

Village of Baldwinsville Highway Department

Entry Name: Village of Baldwinsville Wing Cart

Describe the problem or issue that led to the idea:
Difficulty and unsafe handing of wings. Safety was a big factor.

Describe your solution, innovation, or idea:
I saw what looked like a transport cart for a wing in the background of a photograph showing a DPW in Nevada. This prompted me to design and fabricate carts for the villages wings.

What labor, equipment, and/or materials were used:
The wing cart was designed and fabricated in-house. Steel frame, welded together.

What was the cost (if any):
Less than $80.00 per cart

Video Available Here


2018 BBMT National Competition

City of Beacon Highway Department wins 1st Place in the National Build a Better Mousetrap Competition under the category of Inspection and Data Collection!

 

 

 

 

Winners were announced at the 2018 National LTAP Association Conference in New Orleans Louisiana. There were 26 submittal spanning 12 states in the competition.

Congratulations!!

2018 BBMT Entries and State Winners

1st Place
Town of Orangetown Highway Department - Hitch Witch

2nd Place
Town of Ulster Highway Department - Under the Guide Rail Cleaner

3rd Place
City of Beacon Highway Department - Confined Space Simulator

4th Place
Town of Seneca Highway Department - Hydraulic Snow Fence Roller

Other Entries

Town of Big Flats Highway Department - Under the Guide Rail Cleaner

Town of Big Flats Highway Department - Storm Grate Puller

Town of Urbana Highway Department - Guide Rail Maintainer

Orange County Highway Department - Paved Shoulder

Town of Rochester Highway Department - The Slider

Town of Thurston Highway Department - 1957 Austin Western Roller

Town of New Paltz Highway Department - Making Winter Easy


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