Author: theresastultz

Highly Reflective Pavement Markers Boost Safety in Inclement Weather


Highly Reflective Pavement Markers Boost Safety in Inclement Weather


Valtir News | Oct 2019


Another snowy winter is anticipated for many regions across the United States, and highway agencies are looking for economical ways to help the traveling public safely navigate wet or snow-covered roadways.

Valtir Guide Lite Raise Pavement Marker

Many, including the North Carolina Dept. of Transportation, have turned to Valtir’s Guide Lite, a lightweight, snowplowable, raised pavement marker tested by the National Transportation Product Evaluation Program

(NTPEP). Made of a durable plastic material with abrasion-resistant steel rub rails, Guide Lite weighs substantially less than similarly sized cast-iron markers. Each 9.5-in. x 5.7-in. marker weighs just 1.3 lbs. Installation in either asphalt or concrete is simple, using standard slot-cutting equipment and a two-part epoxy system.

Guide Lite’s raised design allows for continuous guidance in snowy or rainy weather. Other markers are installed in slots beneath the road surface and often fill with rain, snow, or ice, blocking the view of the reflective marker. However, the Guide Lite’s highly reflective lens is installed at the proper height above the road surface, thanks to integrated leveling tabs. The design is durable enough for snowplows and other road maintenance equipment to glide over.

In one test cycle in North Carolina after a significant amount of snowfall, the Guide Lite product showed no indication of de-bonding, and the tough composite material held up to a number of snowplowing activities. During subsequent repaving activities, crews simply ground up and removed the markers with the rest of the asphalt rather than pulling each one up individually, saving time and money during resurfacing.


Source: ENR magazine

Crash Cushions

Tennessee Major Highway Project Gets Approved Safety Boost


Tennessee Major Highway Project Gets Approved Safety Boost


Trinity Highway News | April 2016


In January 2016, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) encouraged implementation of Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH) roadside products by announcing sunset dates for NCHRP Report 350 products. Contractors in Tennessee were encouraged to consider MASH crash cushions along with 350 other systems last July in Lawrence County on Project NH-15 (180). This 5.7-mile paving project on U.S. 64 involved a bypass for S.R. 15, base, paving, guardrail and markings. Average daily traffic on this 70-mph roadway is currently 4,600, and is expected to increase to 5,500 by 2034.


According to Ali Hangul, P.E., CPESC, assistant director of the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), “Our top priority is the safety of the motoring public. Immediately after MASH was published, the design division began evaluating how to implement MASH. The division is continuously updating the TDOT Qualified Products Lists (QPL) to include manufacturers that have tested their safety hardware under MASH criteria and have received an eligibility letter from the FHWA. The QuadGuard M10 MASH-Complaint Crash Cushion was the first attenuator product line to complete testing under MASH criteria. As of January 2016, the department is allowing only MASH-compliant safety hardware to be included on the QPL. As the implementation dates provided by the FHWA are reached, existing NCHRP 350-compliant safety hardware on the QPL will be removed.”


Project NH-15 (180) called for narrow-low maintenance crash cushion systems, as well as a wide-low maintenance system for permanent installations. Although MASH units were not specifically called out for this project, TDOT’s QPLs included several MASH units that would be acceptable. Site-Safe LLC of Leitchfield, Ky., the crash cushion installer, quoted Trinity Highway’s QuadGuard M10, which consists of an engineered steel nose and crushable, energy-absorbing cartridges surrounded by a framework of steel quad-beam panels. The system is MASH Test Level 2 and Test Level 3 compliant as a re-directive, non-gating crash cushion. TDOT agreed to the use of the system. Once assembled in its yard, the units were easily transported and dropped into place and anchored, minimizing installation time on the roadside. Installment of the MASH systems was in accordance with TDOT specifications and additional MASH roadside systems will be added to Tennessee’s roadways in the future.

“It’s comforting to know that we have agencies such as TDOT procuring roadside safety hardware that meet the latest standards in the industry” said Site-Safe President David Rich.


Source: Roads & Bridges magazine

Crash Cushions

Safety Today: Shared Perspectives


There are many common cores in construction, from scheduling and budget issues to material delivery and installation execution. An issue that is weaved in every industry on every job is safety. Although progress has been made, workers still suffer injuries on construction job sites across the United States, and the price that companies and workers pay for injuries is high. However, there are ways to reduce risks to decrease the professional, financial and personal burdens that injuries cause.


The Numbers

According to OSHA, 6.5 million people work at 252,000 construction sites per day in the United States. The agency says the construction industry’s fatal injury rate is higher than the national average in this category for all industries. There were 4,679 workers killed on the job in 2014. This is a 2% increase from 2013 and based on preliminary data (final 2014 statistics are expected from the Bureau of Labor Statistics this spring). That is about 90 deaths per week or more than 13 deaths per day. Of those deaths, 789 Hispanic or Latino workers were killed from work-related injuries. Of all fatal work injuries, those involving contractors accounted for 17%. Out of 4,251 worker fatalities in the private industry in 2014, 874 (20.5%) were in construction. The causes of death from the highest to lowest category are: falls, electrocution, struck by object and caught-in/between.


What to Report

One way to decrease these numbers is to report current incidents and learn from them. How do you know what to report? The simple answer is everything. True injuries, accidents, fatalities and illnesses create statistically significant data that allow trends to be followed and studied. Even near misses should be reported because they can shine a spotlight on a hazard that could turn into something more serious in the future. The only thing you should ever leave out of incident investigations and reporting is blame. Playing the blame game can decrease employee morale, reduce productivity and create a negative work culture. If workers don’t feel comfortable in presenting problems to management, they are going to hide potentially disastrous situations. When gathering information after an incident, OSHA suggests asking:

  • Why was a procedure or rule not followed?
  • Did company pressure jeopardize safety?
  • Are procedures out of date?
  • When did training last occur, and are updates needed?
  • Has this incident happened in the past? If so, what is missing in safety protocol?


Both large and small companies have resources available to help them manage risks. OSHA has developed a website ( to give employers and workers help to identify, reduce and eliminate construction-related hazards. OSHA also has a site ( html) designed just for workers so that they understand their rights and have a defined reporting method. The National Safety Council has a guidance document about how to conduct an incident investigation at Another avenue to promote safety is to look into Safety Week 2016, taking place May 2–6. The initiative was started by 40 national and global construction firms making up The Construction Industry Safety Initiative and the Incident & Injury Free Executive Forum. Many companies celebrate their own Safety Week and use the event as a way to refocus safety plans, come up with new safety tips and practices, and reinvigorate workers about the importance of safety. There also will be a Safety Summit in September by CISI to further promote safety. Find more details at


Sneak Peek       

Safety is a broad topic, but this special section offers tips. If you are a highway design, bridge or safety engineer, you regularly consider safety features used on highways. The AASHTO Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH), is the new standard for the crash testing of safety hardware devices used on the National Highway System. Although AASHTO announced changes to MASH years ago, sunset dates were announced by the Federal Highway Administration in January. Turn to page S7 to discover more about those dates.


Of the changes, Jim Crowley, vice president of new product development and marketing for Trinity Highway, Dallas, says, “We fully support the AASHTO/FHWA agreement to transition to the MASH testing criteria. We have and will continue to develop products to the new testing standards in order to support the states and the implementation dates.” When looking for more safety tools, consider heading to your smartphone, computer or tablet. SafetyNet automates the collection of workplace safety data and predicts high-risk areas where injuries are likely to occur with 97% accuracy (see page S5).


Does It Matter?

Throughout the year, Engineering News-Record covers a wide range of industries, from bridges and highways to airports and ports. In all of these and other markets, construction workers regularly are engaging in activities that pose a risk, and every day management and workers are trying to figure out how to keep sites safe. The efforts that employers and workers make in setting safety practices and following them have made an impact. OSHA notes that since 1970, workplace fatality rates have decreased by 66% and occupational injury and illness rates have dropped by 67%. This data becomes even more statistically significant when you consider employment in the United States has doubled in 45 years. It is reassuring to know the joint efforts of workers, employers and regulating bodies do make a difference.


Ahead of the Curve with Roadside Hardware

In 2009, AASHTO introduced new testing criteria for roadside hardware with the Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH). MASH provides testing guidelines like NCHRP Report 350 but takes today’s vehicle fleet and road designs into consideration. While much of MASH’s testing criteria remains the same as Report 350, there are some significant changes, including:

  • Small car mass and impact angle
  • Pickup truck mass and center of gravity
  • Impact angles for terminals and crash cushions
  • TL-4 vehicle weights and speed
  • Vehicle occupant damage
  • Hardware modification notifications


In January, the Federal Highway Administration announced sunset dates for new installations of NCHRP Report 350 products. The following dates detail the last day a new Report 350 system for the corresponding product category will be available for letting on the National Highway System.

  • Dec. 31, 2017: W-beam guardrail, permanent concrete barriers
  • June 30, 2018: End terminals
  • Dec. 31, 2018: Crash cushions
  • Dec. 31, 2019: Everything else (TMAs, barricades, sign posts, etc.)


Trinity Highway’s engineering group is ahead of the curve, working on the evolution of many Report 350 products to MASH. Trinity Highway currently offers two MASH crash cushions in its QuadGuard Family of products: the QuadGuard M10 and the QuadGuard Elite M10. The QuadGuard M10 consists of an engineered steel nose and crushable, energy-absorbing cartridges. The Quad Guard Elite M10 consists of a flex-belt nose and potentially reusable cylinders. Both systems are MASH Test Level 2 and 3 compliant as redirective, non-gating crash cushions. Although the crash cushion sunset dates are not until the end of 2018, several states have taken a proactive approach. Oklahoma, Tennessee, Massachusetts and Michigan all currently have QuadGuard M10 or QuadGuard Elite M10 systems installed.

Source: ENR Magazine


Improvements to the I-595 Express Corridor: Installing an Incident Management System


Improvements to the I-595 Express Corridor: Installing an Incident Management System

Modern Contractor Magazine | March 2015

I-595 is Broward County’s major east-west thoroughfare located in Broward County, Florida, handling more than 180,000 vehicles per day, and by 2034, that number is projected to swell to beyond 300,000 vehicles per day. In 2009, The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) signed a public-private partnership (P3) agreement with I-595 Express, LLC to serve as the concessionaire to design, build, finance, operate, and maintain (DBFOM) the I-595 Corridor Expressway Improvements Project for a long-term commitment of 35 years. Construction began in February 2010 with a total project length of 13 miles and a design and construction cost of approximately $1.2 billion—the largest P3 project in Florida to-date. Dragados-USA was chosen as the lead design-build contractor and completed the project in March 2014.


Key Project Statistics

• Three reversible express lanes created in the I-595 median.

• Over 275 local companies employed on the project.

• Averaged more than 2,000 employees per month working directly on the project.

• Average monthly construction expenditure: $17.1 million.

• Over a million$/day spent on temporary work zone services.


Incident Management System

The I-595 Express Corridor Improvements Project implemented an extensive incident management system to operate within the corridor and included CCTV cameras, traffic detectors, and other measures to reduce the effects of crashes and breakdowns on traffic flow. Dedicated road rangers provide necessary assistance to stranded motorists and support incident management. One of the challenges they faced was in providing access points to speed up the response time during an incident. Manufactured by Trinity Highway, the BarrierGate® (Emergency Access Gates-EAG) is an automated gate for barrier openings used for Incident Management Systems, HOV Lanes, Median Crossover, and Reversible Lanes. The I-595 Corridor Expressway project included five BarrierGates strategically placed throughout the corridor to provide the necessary access points for incident responders into the Express Lanes. SICE, Inc., a division of Dragados-USA, operated as the subcontractor for the design and installation of the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS). Juan Rodriguez, deputy design manager with SICE, was responsible for managing the unique and complex ITS design and installation of this system.


Juan states, “The Trinity BarrierGate is remotely operated through an interface between the Access Control Unit (ACU) housed in a control panel box near each gate location and the Traffic Management Center (TMC), which is operated 24/7/365 and located in FDOT’s District Four office in Fort Lauderdale. The project RFP specified an EAG that could provide the operational interface between the EAG’s and the other components. This had never been done before; the Trinity BarrierGate was the only product that could meet those requirements. We also required a supplier who could provide the technical support for this unique installation and also meet the demanding delivery time required by the project schedule. The advanced software, critical to this interface, was newly developed. We were able to perform multiple preliminary tests with the BarrierGate at Trinity’s manufacturing facility in Pell City, Alabama, prior to the delivery.”


Crash Cushions And Barriers

David Feise, I-595 maintenance of traffic (MOT) manager with Dragados-USA, managed all temporary traffic control during the construction phase of the project. This included temporary barriers, striping, and other work zone devices. During the construction phase, the (MOT) plans required 233 temporary QuadGuard II® crash cushions moved to over 811 locations. Typical QuadGuard II devices used were the Standard and Wide models in both NCHRP 350 Test Level 2 & 3 configurations. Especially important to this project, were the 1 bay QuadGuard II models with a system length of 7 feet, the shortest systems available on the market today used at turnarounds under bridges.


Upon completion of the project a total of 68 QuadGuard II units were installed in permanent crash cushion applications. David states, “Since this project required the concessionaire to maintain the 13 miles of roadway for 35 years, maintenance cost was very important to us, not just for the construction but for the overall maintenance life of the expressway. The cost-effectiveness, versatility, and reparability of the QuadGuard II product, which can be installed over a broad range of lengths and backup widths, were critical in our decision process.”


Alan Lafferty, sales manager with Gulf Industries in Florida states, “We approached this project with the intent of being a one-stop shop. We provided engineering, sales, and service, including installation and repair support. We were also able to meet the multiple requirements of the various speeds and widths of crash cushions and the unique, highly technical interface of a BarrierGate system. Phase construction was a vital requirement for this project. It gave us very little lead time for delivery and installations, which sometimes had to be made between lane shifts, new traffic patterns, or opening of new ramps.”


Gulf Material Sales, LLC is Trinity Highway’s distributor for the State of Florida and performed as the lead contact between Dragados and Trinity for the entire duration of the project. Bob’s Barricades, Inc. installed the temporary QuadGuard II units and over 5,000 linear feet of Trinity’s Triton® Water-Filled Barrier during the construction phase. Gulf worked closely with Bob’s and the MOT Manager to ensure orders, deliveries, and field issues were resolved in a timely manner. David adds: “There was a large number of very short and wide gore areas designed into this project, with locations requiring non-typical, somewhat ‘tricky’ installations. We needed a supplier who could not only meet severe delivery time constraints, but also provide a variety of crash cushion models with the expertise to assist with these unique applications. Gulf provided a ‘single-source’ for this project that no one else could match.”


The QuadGuard Family of crash cushions, manufactured by Trinity Highway, provides exceptional versatility, and will allow the asset management firm to upgrade to the more reusable, lower maintenance QuadGuard Elite® model should impact frequency increase in specific locations or to the QuadGuard M10® (MASH) units should FHWA standards change in the future.

Source: Modern Contractor magazine


Experience Versatility and Flexibility with Vulcan Barrier


Improving the Work Zone: Experience Versatility and Flexibility with Vulcan Barrier

Modern Contractor magazine | February 2013

With today’s overcrowded highways, a construction zone can quickly become cramped and confusing. Moving trucks and equipment, combined with bulky safety hardware, can be hazardous for drivers and workers. In December 2012, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LDOTD) began a 9-month project of installing variable message signs on I-10 in the Lake Charles area. The project is situated in a high traffic area and they wanted to deploy simple, efficient construction zones for the duration. Looking for a change from the heavy, difficult-to-maneuver concrete traffic barriers (CTB), Tyson Thevis, LDOTD project engineer, and Michael Broussard, project manager for Diamond Electric Co., Inc. of Baton Rouge, worked together to find an alternative solution.

Alternative Solution

During a meeting with Gulf Industries, Inc. of Covington, Louisiana, they discovered the Vulcan Barrier of Trinity Highway Products/Energy Absorption Systems, an NCHRP 350 Test Level 3 and 4 steel longitudinal barrier that may be used in place of the traditional CTB. The product immediately caught their attention: comprised of galvanized steel, the 4-meter sections are lightweight and stackable, which allows for up to 480 feet of Vulcan to be transported on a flatbed trailer. Each section of Vulcan is easily deployed and positioned using retractable casters and interlinked with a vertical steel pivot pin, which allows the system to follow curves of up to 6 degrees per 4-meter segment. The Vulcan is also compatible with a variety of crash cushions and end terminals, which the project required. Citing the ease of setup and deployment, consolidated shipping, and versatility, Michael Broussard comments: “Vulcan was cost effective versus concrete due to the nature of the project. Diamond may need to reconfigure some of the eight work zones, and Vulcan is much more adaptable to such movement and transition.”

With Vulcan Barrier chosen as the preferred barrier for the project, maintenance and redistribution will be easier than usual for the crews who are used to working with CTB: a 4-meter section of Vulcan weighs 1,100 pounds, whereas a 6-meter section of CTB weighs 8,000 pounds.

In The Zone 

There are currently 248 sections of the Vulcan Barrier being leased from Gulf for the project. Gulf coordinated with Trinity’s Pell City, Alabama, plant to ship the Vulcan directly to each of the project’s eight separate work zones. At the sites, crews used forklifts to offload two sections of the Vulcan at a time. Next, the Vulcan sections were rolled into position, linked together with the steel pivot pins, and anchored. The 450-foot runs were then attenuated with an NCHRP 350 Test Level 3 crash cushion, the ACZ-350. Jack Harper Contractors Inc., a subsidiary of Gulf, completely assembled and installed the eight zones over 8 separate nights. Each night, crews installed 450 feet of Vulcan, plus an ACZ-350 crash cushion. Because of the lightweight, stackable design, fewer trucks were used to transport the Vulcan than would be required with CTB, freeing up valuable time and resources. And, crews were easily able to place the product because of its simple deployment and maneuverability.


The sleek galvanized lines of the Vulcan Barrier coupled with the narrow profile of the ACZ-350 give the zones a clean and spacious appearance. Measuring 32-inches high and 21.5-inches wide, the inwardly sloping, ribbed sidewalls of the Vulcan are non-gating and designed to redirect a vehicle when impacted according to NCHRP 350 standards. Since December, LDOTD has already received praise from its drivers about the I-10 project.

According to Tyson Thevis, “The Vulcan looks great. LDOTD has had several levels of positive feedback from the public on the appearance. The public image of this project is very good.”

While the Vulcan Barrier is perfect for the short runs of the work zones on the I-10 project, its versatility makes it a popular choice for many other types of applications as well. For areas that require gated, easy access beyond the barrier, Vulcan Barrier sections can be reconfigured as simple median gates with the addition of a Vulcan hinge. The Vulcan Gate can be manually opened in about 1 minute by removing several pins, deploying the casters, and then pushing the Vulcan modules out of the way. Projects requiring the opening and closing of traffic lanes benefit from the Moveable Vulcan Barrier. This barrier is easily repositioned with the Vulcan Transfer Attachment (VTA) when connected to a skid steer or front end loader. Use of the VTA allows the operator to reposition 1 mile of Vulcan Barrier, 1-lane width, in approximately 20 minutes from either side of the barrier. And, for emergency situations that require immediate deployment, numerous DOTs and contractors maintain Vulcan quick response trailers. Quickly deployed, responders can efficiently redirect traffic in instances of rock slides or other emergency road closure situations.

Source: Modern Contractor magazine


Moveable Barrier Finds Niche on Highway Projects


Moveable Barrier Finds Niche on Highway Projects

Modern Contractor magazine | July 2012


Protecting the Motorist

TDOT is committed to doing its part in protecting motorists from the rock falls and sink holes occurring on, and adjacent to, the highway. Debris from these slides often ends up in the travel lanes of the roadways posing a serious threat to vehicular traffic. TDOT maintenance crews must erect temporary traffic control to safely channelize traffic around the obstruction until repair crews or contractors can be called in to correct the problem. This process was traditionally done using drums and cones, which were fast and easy to deploy, but they did not provide positive protection and could allow vehicles to inadvertently impact debris fields. While portable concrete barrier has been used for many years as a solid redirective barrier for work zones and affected areas along the highway, its use was very limited for unforeseen emergency applications due to its weight, required equipment, and difficulty in handling. At an average of 450 to 500 pounds per foot, a user could only load about 110 to 120 linear feet of portable concrete barrier on a standard 40-foot tractor trailer, and crews required a boom truck, crane, or track loader to offload and set the barrier. These two factors alone essentially eliminated the use of portable concrete barrier for emergency deployment situations.

Solution to Barrier Deployment 

In 2007, TDOT approached Gulf Industries, a local provider of traffic safety equipment, looking for solutions

to its problem of rapidly deploying barriers that offered positive protection. Seeing that concrete barriers would not solve their problem, Andre Favret of Gulf Industries suggested using the Vulcan Steel Barrier from Energy Absorption Systems/Trinity Highway Products. After a short demonstration on a section of I-40, TDOT made its first purchase of 100 13.5-foot sections for maintenance and traffic control activities.

TDOT observed that the footprint of the Vulcan Barrier in the yard was essentially the same whether stored on the ground or on a trailer. They decided that using dedicated trailers for the Vulcan Barrier would reduce cost and deployment times, enabling the maintenance department to respond much quicker to highway emergencies. While TDOT’s standard lowboy trailers worked well for the Vulcan Barrier, they were not optimized for storage and operation, so TDOT decided to acquire custom trailers for storing and transporting a dedicated amount of Vulcan Barrier. The 28-foot-long, double-axle trailers hold 16 sections, or 215 linear feet, of Vulcan Steel Barrier. This is double the amount of concrete barrier that could be transported on a 40-foot tractor trailer. The product has proved so durable that TDOT has not had to purchase any parts for repair in the last 5 years. TDOT is actively using the Vulcan Steel Barrier in all four of its districts.

Creating Work Zones

TDOT is not the only user of the Vulcan Steel Barrier in Tennessee. Several highway contractors use the product extensively for short and longer term work zones. Superior Traffic Control-Memphis (STC) of Memphis, Tennessee, owns several thousand feet of the product. Rebecca Wood, president of STC, states, “We use the Vulcan Barrier as an integral part of our traffic control operations. The barrier is lightweight and highly portable, and allows our crews to quickly set up protected work zones for our customers. We use the Vulcan for overnight and weekend work zones where we are only allowed to close a lane of traffic for a short period of time. Our crews are able to position the barrier by hand at the beginning of an evening and then quickly move the barrier to the shoulder in the morning so that the lane is open to rush hour traffic.”

Barrier Functionality

With the use of a the Vulcan Transfer Attachment (VTA) connected to a small skid steer or front end loader, the barrier can be moved laterally 12 feet at a rate of 5 mph, allowing the opening or closing of a ½-mile-long work zone in about 20 minutes. This configuration of the Vulcan Barrier makes the product ideal for work zones in highly congested areas where longitudinal barrier must be moved multiple times per day or weekend to accommodate peak and off-peak traffic volumes. When the work zone is inactive, the Vulcan Barrier is stored out of the way of traffic on the shoulder. When an active work zone is required, the contractor uses the VTA to quickly move the barrier out into the roadway to close the lane to traffic and secure the work zone.

Source: Modern Contractor magazine