Congratulations 2014 Creative Solutions Award Winners

Town of East Lyme – Wheel Hub Strap wheeel strap

Problem Identified: The Town had an issue with wheel hubs over the last few years.  The exterior seals get pulled out in the snow and ice banks.  When that happens, they end up removing the hubs, wheels & bearings, clean the bearings and replace the seals and refill the hubs with oil.  The hubs get full of water from the snow melting inside the hubs.  This is a big deal and has even been required in the middle of a storm.

Solution: They came up with an idea to strap the rubber plugs in the hub housings.  They purchased a length of aluminum flat stock and played with the bends until they got it shaped appropriately.  The strap goes over the hub rubber seal and keeps them from being pulled out by snow and ice.  Two holes mount them and a little hand work makes them fit.

Cost Estimate: The materials used to build the unit cost less than $1.00 per wheel

Benefit: Having the straps in place keeps the trucks on the road, saving a lot of time and money for the town.  There is an additional environmental benefit as the oil no longer leaks out of the hubs.

 Contact:     Chuck Holyfield, Superintendent of Highways, Sanitation and Fleet
                        Town of East Lyme

Town of Monroe – One Man Plow Installation Tool lined up

Problem Identified: With only one mechanic in the shop, it is difficult to safely repair plows and change out plow blades when they come in.

Solution: Dave Clark, Monroe’s mechanic, came up with the solution after getting some guidance from his colleagues.  An overhead crane with a clamp picks up and lowers the plow blade into the handmade tool.  It is secured in the tool.  The plow is brought in and jacks are installed for safety. The old blade is cut off. The new one is then brought up to the mold board with the tool, two tapered pins are put in bolt holes on the plow and mold board to secure it.  Plow bolts are put in and torque accordingly with a ¾ inch impact tool.

Cost Estimate: No real costs were incurred as scrap steel and existing items were used.

Benefit: It works efficiently with one employee.  The driver is able to continue on their plow route with a spare truck and no significant loss of production time has been noted.  This tool has been used for the last two and a half years with no problems and no safety issues.

Jim Robinson, Highway Supervisor
Town of Monroe

Town of Cheshire – Brake Drum Remover and Installerbrake drum tool 1

Problem Identified: Removing and installing brake drums was a time consuming process for the mechanics and presented a back injury risk due to the lifting of heavy parts and equipment.

Solution: Doug Pepe adapted an existing brake drum tool using an old electric sander motor, gears and chains from an old spinner shaft, and a new battery and switch to make it work electrically.  The tool is rolled over to the truck and the brake drum is attached to it.  Using the switch, the mechanic can easily remove or install the brake drum.

 Cost Estimate: Total cost under $50.00 because Cheshire already had the old style drum tool framework

Benefit: The tool saves a lot of time and also improves safety by alleviating the need to bend and lift the equipment and parts.

Rich Kaczer, Fleet Manager or Doug Pepe, Welder/Fabricator
Town of Cheshire

For more information on the Creative Solutions Award Program and to view our online catalog of past winners, visit our website at

About Connecticut T2 Center

The Training & Technical Assistance Center at UCONN provides education and technical assistance to members of Connecticut's Transportation and Public Safety Community, including municipal public works directors, street and road maintenance superintendents and staff, city and town engineers, Connecticut Department of Transportation employees, transportation planners and law enforcement professionals serving as legal traffic authorities. We are Connecticut's LTAP Center
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