Rod Lashuay is a Maintenance Field Engineer at the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). He has been with IDOT since 1990 and started out as a Resident Engineer with the Construction Bureau, where he served for 15 years. He has been in his current role for the last 12 years. Lashuay holds a B.S. in civil engineering from Michigan State University.Lashuay currently serves as chair of the Technical Review Panel (TRP) for an ICT/IDOT project that focuses on improving the design of living snow barriers on Illinois freeways. The project, “Design of Living Barriers to Reduce the Impacts of Snow Drifts on Illinois Freeways” (R27-164), is led by Principle Investigator Xianming Shi (Washington State University) and Co-Investigators Mark Cornwell (Sustainable Salting Solutions), John Petrie (Washington State University), and Yan Qi (Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville).
“The objective of this project,” says Lashuay, “is to develop recommendations on design and placement of living snow fences to minimize the snow drift on Illinois roadways.”
He goes on to explain, “This study will look at best practices from other northern states around Illinois. It will also give some insight to the costs involved with fighting blowing snow problems on Illinois highways and the potential cost savings that could be realized—especially in the open prairie lands of our state.”
Several locations with different varieties of plantings will be analyzed following blowing snow events. Also, computer modeling is being developed to help provide recommendations on best locations for living snow fence and what types of plantings may be best for capturing snow.
“Every snow event is different. Some storms do not have much wind; others result in blizzard conditions. Sometimes we don’t even have a snow storm but the wind picks up and blows snow across the roads causing problems,” says Lashuay. “There are lots of times when having living snow fence would be beneficial in many ways.”
The project is expected to run through October of 2018, in order to collect a full winter worth of data.