Changes will come into effect on January 1, 2022 for the type of temporary traffic barriers that can be used on Australian roads. Here’s a quick look at what’s changing, how it affects Coates customers and other contractors, plus some tips on choosing the right temporary barrier for your next project.
NCHRP 350 and MASH are the two most common crash test standards for temporary barriers used on the Australian road network. However, any new contracts signed between a head contractor and the relevant road authority from January 1, 2022 will be required to deploy MASH-approved barriers.
“This means that any contracts signed before this date, regardless of when the barriers will be installed, can adhere to the MASH or NCHRP 350 standard,” explains Paul Elsdon, Coates Traffic Product Specialist. “But any contracts signed on or after January 1 must adhere to MASH.”
First adopted in Australia in 2009, MASH is an American crash test standard designed to ensure the safety and effectiveness of a range of road safety products. In 2018, almost a decade after this standard was introduced, the Austroads Safety Barrier Assessment Panel (ASBAP) set a target deadline for phasing out NCHRP 350 and mandating MASH. This change allows one road safety product standard to be consistently applied across Australia. It also ensures that the standard of Australian road safety products aligns with Australia’s changing vehicle trends.
The most significant differences between these standards are the sizes of vehicles used during testing, and the increase in the angle of impact applied for some particular tests.
In the last 10-15 years, the dual-cab ute has become increasingly popular on Australian roads and the size of Australia’s general road fleet has grown significantly too. To mirror this trend, MASH testing uses vehicles that are heavier than the NCHRP 350 standard.
“MASH applies more rigorous testing criteria, designed to accommodate more severe impact scenarios than the existing NCHRP 350 standard,” says Paul. “Mandating MASH is really about ensuring that the very safest barriers are deployed on Australian roads to help keep drivers, construction workers and all other road users safe.”
The main requirement for head contractors is to ensure that from January 1, 2022 only MASH-approved temporary barriers are specified and deployed on Australian roads for contracts signed in 2022. While most Australian hire companies will have some MASH products available, the responsibility falls on the contractor to ensure this standard is met.
When construction teams are working on or near roads they need adequate separation and protection from wayward cars, moving debris, and other unexpected intrusions. Drivers and other road users also need protection in the event of a collision, making designing and implementing safe temporary traffic barrier solutions an important part of any road construction project.
Here are some things to think about ahead of your next temporary traffic barrier design.
1. MASH-approved products
From January 2022 choosing MASH approved products is a legal requirement for all head contractors. For guidance, refer to the relevant road authority’s website for the products that are accepted within individual jurisdictions, or speak to a Coates product specialist.
2. Ease of installation
The ease of transporting, installing and removing barriers is another important factor. Coates end-to-end solutions support customers with all aspects of temporary barrier delivery, installation and removal.
3. Work site requirements
Understanding these and many other work site constraints and requirements can help you to design a temporary barrier solution that meets your unique project needs.
Coates offers customers a wide range of MASH approved traffic barrier products Australia-wide, with additional NCHRP 350-approved products available for deployment and contracts signed before the MASH deadline. Coates also supports customers in choosing the safest and most cost-effective road safety products, drawing on considerable industry experience designing and implementing traffic management solutions.
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