More than 1,000 fatalities and 40,000 injuries occur in U.S. construction zones each year. Florida ranked fourth in roadway construction fatalities in 2001, which prompted the Florida Department of Transportation to seek an alternative to its traditional work-zone barrier. They hired University of Florida civil engineering researchers to come up with a new design, and the result has drawn excitement and attention from State transportation agencies across the Nation. The novel barrier can successfully redirect both a small car (1800 lbs.) and a standard pickup truck (4000 lbs.) approaching from a 25-degree angle, preventing it from crashing into the work zone and protecting the passengers in the vehicle. The novel barrier can be broken down into 12-foot segments that are inexpensive, and easy to install and move around. Additionally, the barrier system provides an innovative connection mechanism that permits layouts with both horizontal and vertical curvature. As the crash tests on this new device have shown, this portable temporary low-profile barrier (PTB) is an effective way to increase safety in construction zones.
Roadway construction barrier to protect construction workers and pedestrians from traffic
- The system was built, tested, and certified according to NCHRP-350 Level 2 federal requirements and complies with required highway safety codes, speeding its path to market
- The Florida Department of Transportation already is already specifying this system for its highway projects, and other state agencies from across the nation have shown interest in purchasing the system as well, providing a pre-existing market for the technology
- The low profile design of the barrier provides workers with an unimpeded view of oncoming traffic at points of crossing, dramatically decreasing the chances of on-site accidents to workers and pedestrians
- Each barrier segment is lightweight and does not need to be connected to the pavement, increasing the ease of installation and removal while reducing the time, labor, and costs required for roadway construction
- Multiple individual segments may be connected in straight, concave, or convex arrangements to allow for easy deployment on a range of geometries including uneven surfaces
With its a low-profile design of just 18 inches in height, the barrier permits increased visibility to both vehicle occupants and roadside workers. A steel channel in each segment is connected via steel bolts, providing a continuous steel path to transfer the load of impact throughout the entire installation.