Maintenance Work Zone SafetyAuthor/Presenter: Graham, J.L.; Migletz, J.; Loumiet, J.R.; Hinch, J.; Lerner, N.
Highway maintenance work is one of the most hazardous occupations in the nation. The growing necessity to repair existing pavements and structures while maintaining traffic flow makes maintenance work site safety of increasing concern to workers and highway users. The cost for setting up and maintaining traffic controls at work sites has risen rapidly. Where maintenance work sites are short-term or mobile, stationary worker protection devices (barriers) are not practical and good alternatives are not available. Frequently pavement maintenance requires occupancy of more than one lane or temporary exposure in multiple lanes. Reduction of this exposure space or time could significantly reduce accidents and improve capacity. If highway organizations are to meet the need for flexibility, mobility, and economy in effective work site traffic controls, new technologies are needed. This study identified existing maintenance procedures and safety problems and developed new devices (such as effective portable barriers, portable energy attenuation devices, automated traffic warning devices, portable rumble strips, and robots) and the appropriate traffic control systems and maintenance operating procedures to employ them effectively.
This contract (SHRP Project H-108, “Maintenance Work Zone Safety”) is Phase One of a two-phased approach. Phase One included an evaluation of the traffic control/worker protection needs of maintenance work zones, work zone traffic control measures, protective/warning systems, etc.; and maintenance equipment, materials, and procedures. It addressed time and space occupancy required to implement traffic control worker protection and to effect roadway repairs. This review was used to identify and justify innovative approaches to reduce or eliminate maintenance worker exposure. A Phase Two contract, SHRP Project H-109, “Maintenance Work Zone Safety Devices Development and Evaluation,” will be awarded at the completion of H-108 to construct and test devices conceived during this project.