various images of LTAP work throughout the state

Overview of the Build a Better Mousetrap National Competition

This highlights innovative solutions to everyday problems and issues that local and tribal transportation workers encounter. They can range from the development of tools, equipment modifications, to processes that increase safety, reduce cost, improve efficiency and the quality of transportation. Read more.

Previous Competitions

Ouachita, Terrebonne recognized for their local innovations

Two transportation innovations had the locals talking at the recent Louisiana Parish Engineers and Supervisors Association (LPESA) Spring Conference where the winners of the 2019 Build a Better Mousetrap (BABM) Competition were awarded.

Ouachita Parish Public Works Department’s Catch Basin Lid Assist Tool was selected as this year’s Louisiana Winner. Jeremy Clack, Assistant Public Works Director of Ouachita Police Jury, shared how this tool was lightweight, efficient, and inexpensive way of lifting and lowering catch basin lids for inspection purposes. It only cost them less than one hundred dollars ($100) including labor. Truly innovative, indeed.

photo of catch basin lid assist tool and in-a-pinch salt spreader

The Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government’s (TPCG) Salt Spreader, on the other hand, won the “People’s Choice Award” for having earned higher number of LIKES on social media. TPCG Public Works Director David Rome shared how this innovation saved them during the freeze of 2016 wherein they had numerous bridges and roads being iced over. They modified the seed spreader into a salt spreader, then used it as a deicing agent dispensing large amounts of pellets. It cost them $250 for modified casters only plus 4 hours of labor.

The entries were judged by a panel of judges based on four criteria: cost savings (30%), effectiveness (30%), ease of transfer (20%), and ingenuity (20%). Both entries were under the same category—Maintenance Tools and Methods The other categories include Asset Management Techniques, Facilities Improvements, and Inspection and Data Collection.

Ouachita’s Catch Basin Lid Assist Tool will be entered as Louisiana's entry at the national level to be done during the #NLTAPA conference in Stowe, Vermont this August.

BABM is an effort initiated by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and coordinated through the LTAP Centers across the nation. The goal is to encourage local government agencies to create innovative solutions that respond to everyday problems that local transportation workers encounter.

View Louisiana's entries: https://www.ltrc.lsu.edu/ltap/pdf/2019_babm.pdf

LTAP Director Marie Walsh presented both awards to the winning agencies. LPESA President Tommy Durrett (left photo) accepted the First Place Winner award on behalf of Ouachita Parish. Senior Mechanic Christopher Infante (right photo) accepted the People’s Choice Award on behalf of Terrebonne Parish.

LPESA President Tommy Durrett accepted the First Place Winner award on behalf of Ouachita Parish. Senior Mechanic Christopher Infante accepted the People’s Choice Award on behalf of Terrebonne Parish

Lafayette Shares BABM Project: A Curb Inlet Drain Top

Lafayette curb inlet drain top

Through the years, Lafayette Consolidated Government (LCG) employees have experienced numerous job injuries as it relates removing and reinstalling curb inlet catch basin tops. In an effort to reduce the number of injuries and make access safer, LCG contacted East Jordan Iron Works (EJI) with concepts of what they wanted and how we wanted these tops to work. The result is a safer top at a relatively small increase in cost. "We discussed with EJI the need to provide a more effective less injury type of cover. We requested a cover that would be hinged and still removable but could be lifted by one person with minimal effort," shares LCG public works city engineer Mitch Wyble. The benefits of this project include reduction of workmen's compensation claims which ultimately reduces insurance premiums and provides for more man-hours at work in lieu of sick leave. JOIN the BUILD A BETTER MOUSETRAP 2019 COMPETITION!