The Ottawa County Road Commission (OCRC) won the Michigan LTAP 2019 Great Ideas Challenge, which seeks to promote and celebrate innovation in the state of Michigan by asking transportation agencies to submit unique innovations used by their agencies.
Material can often get caught in the chains of the tailgate, making unloading difficult or even causing the tailgate to fall off. The OCRC had the idea to attach a solid side plate to the tailgate pins to extend the wall of the tailgate. Therefore, the box tailgate extension has a wall that prevents material from being caught in the chains and allows the material to slide out of the truck bed smoothly. The innovation also includes a tailgate lock that keeps everything rigidly in place.
According to recently-retired Equipment Supervisor Randy Nagelkirk, a mechanic can make the box in three to four hours.
“The task involves welding, drilling holes for the tailgate pin, and cutting off bolts,” he said.
The expected cost is $400. Nagelkirk said he encourages innovations such as this one at tje Road Commission because they “save time, save money for the road commission, and make life easier for the people doing the work.”
For winning the state-level Great Ideas Challenge, Nagelkirk received a monetary award for the OCRC to put toward attending employee training conferences and events. Additionally, the design was automatically submitted to the Federal Highway Administration’s LTAP Build a Better Mousetrap national competition. There, the OCRC will compete with transportation agencies from across the nation.