Nilex is a leader in the geosynthetics
industry providing innovative solutions
Roads & Rail
MSE Walls & Slopes
Erosion & Sediment Control
from a salvage yard and the traffic control arm originally was an eavestrough
downspout with reflective tape wrapping. The arm was connected
to an electric actuator.
Seeking financial backing and outsider validation, he pitched his proof
of concept to the Business Development Bank of Canada. They agreed to
loan him the money to finance the build of a prototype:
• The machine is roughly one metre in width and just shy of two metres
(six feet) tall when operational. It weighs 515 pounds and is designed to
work on roads with minimal shoulders;
• It must be operated by a trained human flagger;
• The handheld remote device currently has a range of 3,500 feet/
• The machine is equipped with a 50-watt solar panel and a 1,000-watt,
gas-powered generator, which allow the machine to be driven
approximately 57 kilometres on a single charge.
After a couple of years of designing and two prototypes and patent protection,
Beaulieu finally had a model ready to show the public.
His next challenge was finding an interested audience.
Because the Ministry of Highways dictates what safety measures must
be used during construction on their roads, Beaulieu knew he needed government
In December 2018, Beaulieu introduced the remote-control flagger
project to the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly.
This past August, the Department of Highways Moose Jaw contacted
him to begin a field test. Each crew member had a chance to operate
The designated flaggers – usually the summer students in the crew – told
Beaulieu how they appreciated not having to stand in the lane of traffic.
Many of the crew shared stories of near misses and close calls while doing
Beaulieu introduced the remote-controlled mobile flagger to guests at
the Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association annual convention in
late November. The feedback was encouraging.
Beaulieu said the reaction from SHCA members was positive and that
a number of companies expressed interest in setting up the remote-controlled
flagger in their shops so all employees could see it.
“I wondered how in this day and age
of smartphones, remote controlled
construction vehicles and robotics in
many sectors of our economy, we could
justify asking these young adults to
stand in traffic with nothing more than
a sign to defend themselves against
increasing numbers of distracted drivers.”
– Leo Beaulieu
34 | Quarter 1 2020 | saskheavy.ca