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Green Mountain Traffic Control won the 2020 Best Builder Award from Associated General Contractors of Vermont for its ingenuity in deploying automated flaggers during the pandemic.

At the outset of the pandemic in March, GMTC determined to diversify staffing needs by engaging with Canadian firm, SITE2020, and agreed to a 3-year contract for AFADs, or Automated Flagger Assistance Devices. With the need for social distancing, AFAD usage allows a single ATSSA certified flagger/operator to remotely operate up to four automated flagging units from a safe vantage point. This safety enhancement allows for minimization of a flagger’s direct exposure to traffic by allowing them to control traffic through the flagging devices. All required standard advance warning devices, such as signage, are still deployed at each work zone.

While training and deploying the units was accomplished with ease, making inroads with governmental partners and contractors was far more challenging. The MUTCD contains language in the use of automated flaggers for states that allow them; Vermont did not.

Initially, a Zoom meeting was organized for a video demonstration with the AFAD vendor. Invitations went out to VTrans representatives, GMTC staff, and AGC. Next, trainings were performed at a local town-owned park and ride. The first scheduled live deployment occurred in March on Route 11 in Chester. Participating were Green Mountain Power foremen and Green Mountain Traffic Control staff. Later, a VTrans representative participated in a Bethel work site.

Since March, automated flaggers have been deployed in work zones throughout southern Vermont in a variety of project applications: utility construction, bridge and road construction, tree trimming, and in municipal work. Whether the application is for night or day work, this addition to its workforce has proven to increase flagger safety and versatility and is an essential tool in the flagger safety toolbox.

This is the third time GMTC has been presented this prestigious award.