Every single piece of temporary traffic management (TTM) equipment serves its purpose on a worksite – from cones to signs to even sandbags. When you place a cone on the road its message is loud and clear “this environment has changed – pay attention”. The language our equipment speaks is universal
When we lay out a worksite it’s like writing a story for our road users to read. Our intent must be loud and clear – and, like a story, we need a beginning, a middle and an end.
New Zealand has a range of regulations in terms of TTM – traffic management plans (TMPs) must be in accordance with the CoPTTM and go through a rigorous approval process at the RCAs before even a single cone is placed out on the road. In terms of equipment – everything is governed by Australia/New Zealand standards (ANZS). In the design phase, a good TMP will look not only at the road environment and works needing to be completed – they will also look at the equipment breakdown including pros and cons of different equipment specified in terms of overall cost and of course, safety.
I’d like to take a closer look at three pieces of equipment that shouldn’t be overlooked in the planning process as they can really up your game in terms of site safety and cost reduction.
No advanced warning is as clear and customisable as a VMS (Mobile Variable Message Sign) board. Contrary to popular thought, VMS boards are not only used for major events or hazard warnings. They can be also used for other messages such as
- · preconditioning prior to works
- · specialist messaging for private stakeholders
- · route advisory
- · travel time information
- · safety advisory notices
- · speed radar messaging
VMS boards are solar or battery powered and mounted on a trailer. The lights used are LED which ensures excellent visibility in most weather conditions. They are used as an alternative to large temporary traffic information signs, especially when the message needs to be changed or blank throughout different stages of work. VMS boards are an effective way to convey safety instructions and advise road users of what to expect ahead, however must not be used to replace standard temporary traffic management signage and must be stationary when in use.
VMS boards are becoming almost mandatory for large scale road closures and long-term road work projects where delays are likely. VMS boards are used extensively in Australia, sometimes having multiple boards on the same site, as they provide site-specific information that can be modified quickly.
The cost to hire VMS boards doesn’t need to be excessive either. In recent times, hireage fees have dropped considerably. This is seen through the increase in use across many worksites.
Temporary Traffic Signals
At first glance, temporary traffic signals or traffic lights, might seem to be an unnecessary expense – but for longer term sites they can be more cost effective and even safer than installing and manning a stop/go. Temporary traffic signals replicate the same principles of stop/go operations with some key improvements:
- · They are safer – as we don’t put people on the road in harm’s way
- · They are cheaper – after just one day traffic lights cost less than stop/go operations
- · They are more visible – the artificial lights present in traffic lights are easier to be seen
- · They are less resource intensive – we don’t need as many people; and
- · They don’t lose focus – stop/go can be challenging for traffic controllers to remain focused on long shifts
There are some very intelligent and very reliable traffic signal units on the market or for hire and these can greatly improve site safety, resource burden and cost – especially on longer term sites.
Road Safety Barrier Systems
A correctly installed barrier can be the difference between life and death.
Safety barriers are an essential piece of traffic control equipment – critical for protecting significant long-term hazards near the roads. It is commonly assumed that road safety barriers are designed to protect workers. While this is an important benefit, it’s not the true reason for their use. Safety barrier systems are intended to redirect errant vehicles, to prevent them from coming into contact with hazards near the road.
Temporary road safety barrier systems are placed around work sites, isolating the hazards, and thereby protecting the road users. This reduces the likelihood of anyone coming into contact with these hazards and potentially significantly harming themselves.
Another key purpose for road safety barriers is to reduce the severity of harm if someone did come into contact with hazards in the worksite. For example, if a road user crashes into a barrier, the severity of injuries will be greatly reduced in comparison to crashing directly into a digger, or a trench. A well designed and correctly installed barrier system should prevent serious harm to road users and either redirect them or capture them – enabling them to stop safely.
Waka Kotahi (NZTA) requires any person preparing or installing a road safety barrier system to be qualified on their Temporary Road Safety Barrier System Workshop (TRSBW). That person then needs to be qualified to install the specific barrier system they are working on with by the manufacturer or supplier in addition to normal traffic management training.
Barrier systems are not always an appropriate method of protection – they require a specific design to ensure they are suitable and will achieve the outcome they are designed for. It’s important that barrier design is done by a suitably qualified and experienced person to ensure that when they are installed – they will work.
If a barrier system is right for your site, our on-road and hire team here at Parallaxx, can arrange not only the hire of barriers, but also the logistics, installation, water filling and chevrons for your site if needed.
So, the next time you’re setting up your worksite – write a great story. Your story may have a VMS board to open, some barriers and traffic lights in the middle – and please, let’s end with everyone going home safe and sound.
Here at Parallaxx we have all the hire equipment you need for a safe and compliant work site. From VMS boards, to barriers to traffic lights and everything in between, we can even arrange a full on-road crew to set up your worksite, run your stop/go’s and monitor your site for the entirety of your project. For more information visit our hire page. Or contact us here.
Do you want to find out more about traffic management plans? Don’t hesitate to ask we’re always Here2Here. Send us a message here.