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Designing Traffic Management for Safer, Less Disruptive Road Works

Growing and maintaining Australia’s vast road network is vital to the growth of our cities and the national economy. But delivering road works can be disruptive, and hazardous for construction workers and road users alike. 

Well-designed traffic management solutions create much safer working environments for road construction teams, and can reduce the traffic burden for road users while work is underway. To design safe and minimally disruptive traffic management solutions, consider these factors.

 

Safety first

 

“Safety is always the first design consideration for any traffic management solution”, explains Craig Bowman – Coates Hire Product Specialist, Traffic Management. 

Traffic management solutions work to keep construction crews, road users and members of the public safe by:

  • Preventing vehicles from entering construction zones.
  • Alerting drivers to upcoming road works.
  • Reducing the risk of impact with barriers and other traffic management equipment.
  • Minimising the harm caused to drivers and construction workers if impact does occur.

“The main goal of traffic management is to keep people safe, but when you place equipment on or near roads you’re actually creating a new hazard,” says Craig. “In doing so, you need to work hard to ensure the safety of anyone who comes into contact with this equipment, and this hazard.” 

 

Minimise disruption

 

Deep down we all know that road works are necessary - they help to maintain the quality of our roads and reduce congestion long term. “But let’s face it – absolutely no one enjoys sitting in slow moving traffic!” Craig argues. To avoid frustration (or worse, road rage), aim to minimise traffic disruption through design. 

  • Position signs and other equipment in highly visible locations.
  • Place adequate signs and message boards to communicate with all affected road users.
  • Deliver electronic messages at speeds that allow instructions to be received – in full.
  • Choosing hire equipment that can be left locked and secure on site can also help to prevent disruption caused by theft and damage to equipment.

 

Advanced warning

 

Giving road users clear and sufficient notice that road works lie ahead helps to protect workers and minimise interactions between road users and construction zones. “This advanced warning gives drivers time to slow down, encourages safer driving practices and allows drivers to follow modified traffic rules as they approach and move through construction zones,” Craig explains.

Popular advanced warning equipment available from Coates Hire includes:

 

Containment

 

Using appropriate traffic barriers to separate road users from work zones creates safer and more effective work environments for construction. It also reduces the risk to road users as they move through these zones. 

In designing containment solutions, consider:

  • Vehicle speed: The faster traffic moves, the more robust the barriers required. Steel barriers are the highest rated temporary barriers available – rated to test level 4 (TL4). Water-filled plastic barriers have a lower rating, and are more suited to use on roads with maximum speed limits of 70km.
 
  • Deflection: To reduce the severity of crash impact for motorists traffic barriers are designed to absorb the energy and redirect the vehicle back into the flow of traffic. By absorbing this energy, barriers will move in the same direction, and the deflection is a measure of how far a barrier will move into the work zone when impact occurs.

 

  • Construction space: It’s also important to consider how much space construction crews will need to perform their work – allowing room for deflection, based on the type of barrier chosen.

As the size and complexity of road works grows, so does the scale and complexity of traffic management solutions. “Partnering with a solutions provider like Coates Hire – to supply all of the hire equipment for traffic management and the delivery of road works – can reduce some of this complexity and take some of a customer’s pain away,” Craig concludes.

For all your traffic management and construction equipment needs reach out to Coates Hire today – or find your local branch.

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