Temporary Traffic Control and Enforcement of Traffic Laws in Closed Road SectionsAuthor/Presenter: Landau, Cole; Strong, Kelly; McDonald, Thomas
Improvements, major repairs, and other events on transportation facilities often require temporary closure of the road or street to general public travel. However, locally originating traffic on these roadways is frequently permitted in order to provide access to homes, farms, and businesses. While the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) provides excellent guidance for temporary traffic control in sections of work zones open to traffic, this reference offers little advice for local traffic inside closed roadway sections. In addition, state laws and agency roadway specifications may not definitively address either the issue of temporary traffic control or traffic law enforcement on roads and streets closed to general public access. When a road or street is officially closed, even temporarily, some confusion may exist regarding the level of traffic law enforcement since the facility is not open for use by the general public. In addition, the Code of Iowa includes liability protection for both the agency and contractor in closed road sections (except in cases of gross negligence), which could further confuse the issues of responsibility and authority of an agency. This report presents the results of state law reviews; surveys of DOT staff in Iowa and other states, Iowa law enforcement officers, and local agency personnel; and expert panel discussions. The findings suggest that application of temporary traffic control, enforcement of traffic laws and safety in closed road or street sections could be improved through possible code revisions, better communication of best practices, implementation of surveillance and control technologies, and development of an expanded driver education program.