Road Institute helps Town of Niagra achieve record road-paving year

The Town of Niagara attributes the success to the Road Institute’s training programs.

The Town of Niagara paved a record-breaking number of 12 roads in 2013. Robert Herman, the Town of Niagara’s highway superintendent in Niagara Falls, N.Y.­, attributed their success to Volvo Construction Equipment’s Road Institute training program in Chambersburg, Pa.

One of the goals of the program was to utilize applied training techniques to teach paving crews, equipment owners, surfacing supervisors, and technicians, the operating principles and safe application of current paving and compaction equipment to ensure maximum production while minimizing costs.

“The Road Institute training program is one of the best hands on courses I have seen in a long time,” Robert said. “In my previous career I was the Education and Training Representative for the United Auto Workers at the Tonawanda Engine Plant, and dealt with many training companies. In comparison, this is a great program.”

Chris Connolly and Wayne Tomlinson, paver training specialists at the Road Institute, says the program provides the paving contractor, operator, agency and industry personnel with the “important link” between equipment technology and industry applications.

The specialists place emphasis on the importance of educating the people running paving machines to ensure they are running them properly. So much so, that Chris and Wayne added this course at the end of 2013 to accommodate the Town of Niagara employees, who were unable to attend previous sessions. Nearby towns Lewiston and Wheatfield were also able to attend the training and assisted Niagara in its record season.

Better training, better performance

The four-day training was divided into three sections: the first day was classroom theory, followed by two days of hands-on paving and compacting and, lastly, a couple of presentations on paving and compacting safety and mat faults.

Although Road Institute does not apply formal efficiency metrics to participants, Chris and Wayne say they observed an improvement in the Town of Niagara’s performance and communication as a team.

“Within the first two days there was noticeably better teamwork as a crew from the training,” Chris said. “When the students first came in, they didn’t know all the steps of operating the machine. By the last day, it’s mandatory through our course to be able to properly pave.”

Chris and Wayne have seen growing trends in municipalities participating in the Road Institute training. There has been an uptick in attendance – a sign, they said, that the asphalt paving industry is stepping up to take better care of our roads.