CHARLESTON, W.Va. — You have to follow the rules of the road but first you have to see them. AMAC or Advanced Mobile Asset Collection is just one of several dozen high tech companies in Charleston this week showing off their wares at the Transportation Subcommittee Meeting on Maintenance.

Maintenance engineers from around the country are attending the event. They’re finding new ways to repair roads and fix problems before they become a hazard.

“What we do is go out there and measure retroreflectivity of all the signs out there and give it a pass or fail grade,” said Jeffrey Burns, a data collection specialist with AMAC.

Put that into layman’s terms and it comes down to this. Burns drives a minivan filled with the latest in technology. The high tech devices can tell if road signs — like the ones you see above the interstate or even a yield sign still have the reflective power they need to be seen clearly by those traveling the road. They also measure the reflectivity of the lines on the road.

“Here we have an LED. It’s a measured light source, a known light source, that shine on the sign. The reflection goes back into the camera lens,” explained Burns. “The camera lens captures images of signs and any other images along the highway. After we capture the image it goes into the computer and it creates an algorithm. After I click the data, I send it back to the corporate office.”

That’s where AMAC determines if the sign and lines are bright enough to meet state and federal standards. If not, they know signs need to be replaced or lines repainted and they pass that on to the clients.

“It’s extremely high tech and cutting edge technology,” stressed Burns.

AMAC has already done work for the Texas and Florida DOT’s. They hope to branch out to more states.

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  • Ray Tanner

    They replace guard rails that don't even need replaced and let the roads go to pot. They even hire companies from Ohio to do the work. Just the other day I saw them painting the lines on the road. What licenses plate did they have Ohio. What more important run into a pot hole and wreck or damage your car or replace a sign that's not as bright as it was a year ago when it was put up.

  • Adam

    I'd just be happy if the state put guard rails up in all the spots where there should be one. Coming off of some these mountains you see spots where if a car went off the road, it would go a long ways, and nobody would even know somebody is down there.

    Some of these spots don't get guard rails until a tragedy happens, even though common sense should have required a guard rail be placed there since the road was built.