Saturday, March 17, 2012

Enhancing work zone safety with Type III barricades

On-ramp taper before
Type III placement

A major hazard in highway work zones is when cars enter closed-off lanes clearly marked off by cones. As this small percentage is either not noticing the cones, running them over for sport, or for whatever reason don’t think a closed-off lane is off-limits to traffic. Thus the answer seemed simple: try solutions that are bigger, more noticable and more difficult to get through in order to get their attention.

On-ramp taper AFTER
Type III placement

Type III barricades (the big three-tiered ones shown above) are more visible because they’re much bigger than the standard tall channelizing cones. We had some available from past use on the project. Rather than send them to the company’s storage yard, where they’d just gather dust, I experimented with placing several in areas which were most prone to run-through by motorists.

The areas where the problems seemed worst were just before exit ramps and where entrance ramps were re-routed through closure zones.

The results were immediately noticable: every area where the barricades were placed saw ZERO entry by motorists. Since then, I’ve had my traffic control personnel placing them in high-risk areas and the results continue to show a ONE HUNDRED PERCENT success rate whereever they’re installed.
The two photos show the difference between before the barricades went up and afterwards. We placed the barricades in this area where several cars entered the closed-off area. As shown below, you can see the difference in visibility.

If you see safety as a compliance matter, where you do what you have to, then maybe ramping up your work safety game may not seem like a big deal. But excellence requires going above and beyond, thus if you have the means and the latitude to do more, then by all means, do more.


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