System would track highway vehicles, equipment


County highway vehicles may be outfitted with a tracking system so that officials know their exact location and how they are being used.

The Dubois County Commissioners discussed the system, called auto-vehicle location, during the board’s Tuesday meeting.

Auto-vehicle location, or AVL, tracks information on a vehicle and sends that information to a server. Those who have access to the data can see things like where a vehicle is located or how fast it’s moving.

County Highway Superintendent Steve Berg talked to the commissioners about the system last month. He wanted to have it installed in all 47 vehicles and road machines the department has. He scaled that back Tuesday, saying that 14 would be outfitted at all times. More would be equipped with AVL, depending on the season that the machines are used more: 28 for the summer season and 29 for the winter season.

“We want to use it as a planning tool,” Berg told the commissioners. “Say we have a tree down and we’re looking for a fast response. We can pull up that map and figure out the closest one there and directly contact them to go get it.”

With the current radio system, the foreman calls a worker to see when that person can get to the area, but that worker may be doing something else and can’t get to the site for a while. And, it may or may not be the worker who’s closest to the scene.

“This will help in improving our response time,” Berg said.

The information can also be used to answer questions from residents about the road location of department vehicles and equipment, “in response to public questions about where we’ve been and have we been there in the last six months mowing that road,” Berg said as an example.

Alarms can be set up to track various activities of a vehicle, said Shawn Scott of WTH Technology. They can track if a truck reaches a speed, sits idle for a certain length of time, or crosses a certain boundary into a different area or location.

Also the program’s diagnostic readings will alert the department to a problem with a vehicle or piece of equipment. The department will get a notification that there is a problem, and can then look at the reading to see the nature of the problem, Berg explained.

“What it’s going to do in the long run is improve our efficiency,” he said.

The system will include setup and maintenance costs from WTH and Verizon. The commissioners said they wanted to see a contract with the actual costs before approving the department’s request.

The commissioners also:

• Heard from Sheriff Tom Kleinhelter that Kyle Eckert, who was a jailer, will become a deputy once he completes the Law Academy. He was hired as a deputy after Josh Smith was made school resource officer for the Southeast Dubois County School Corporation; Kleinhelter is working on hiring a new jailer. Also, a deputy resigned last week, so the sheriff will start the hiring process for a new one.

• Hired Nick Kerstiens to fill the highway department’s open bridge-crew position. Kerstiens will also fill in as the spare grader operator during snow events, Berg said.

• Heard from Commissioners President Chad Blessinger that work on the justice center project is continuing. Several different options are being developed for expanding the security and community corrections centers and creating a justice center. And the contract to purchase land in front of the community corrections center from SERVUS! is nearly complete. Blessinger said he plans to give the Dubois County Council an update on the project at the council’s meeting next week.

• Heard that County Engineer Brent Wendholt wants the highway department to have an application for overweight and oversized load trucks that want to use county roads. The idea is that those vehicles can be directed on the roads that can handle the vehicle, he explained. Also, if the vehicle damages the county road or bridge, the owner can be held accountable to pay for the damages. The commissioners said they wanted to hear more of the details before considering implementing such an application.

• Approved a request to use parts of County Road 100 South and Old Huntingburg Road from 8 to 9 a.m. Saturday, May 16, for the 16th annual Armed Forces Day 5K Run/Walk.

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