January 24, 2003

Refer to: HSA-10/WZ-139

Mr. Michael Denman
The Roadmarker Company
835 Terry Francois Boulevard
San Francisco, California 94107

Dear Mr. Denman:

This is in response to your letter of November 21, 2002, requesting Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) acceptance of your company's Multipurpose Barricades as crashworthy traffic control devices for use in work zones on the National Highway System (NHS).  Accompanying your letter were reports of crash testing conducted by E-Tech Testing Services, Ind., and video of the tests.  You requested that we find these devices acceptable for use on the NHS under the provisions of National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 350 “Recommended Procedures for the Safety Performance Evaluation of Highway Features.”  


The FHWA guidance on crash testing of work zone traffic control devices is contained in two memoranda.  The first, dated July 25, 1997, titled “INFORMATION: Identifying Acceptable Highway Safety Features,” established four categories of work zone devices: Category I devices were those lightweight devices which could be self-certified by the vendor, Category II devices were other lightweight devices which needed individual crash testing, Category III devices were barriers and other fixed or massive devices also needing crash testing, and Category IV devices were trailer mounted lighted signs, arrow panels, etc.  The second guidance memorandum was issued on August 28, 1998, and is titled “INFORMATION: Crash Tested Work Zone Traffic Control Devices.”  This later memorandum lists devices that are acceptable under Categories I, II, and III.

A brief description of the devices follows:

Individual barricades are made up of two blow-molded polyethylene plastic panels hinged at the top such that the assembly assumes an A-frame open stance of 1067 mm and a vertical drop from the top stripe bar of 914 mm.  A 610 mm wide barricade was selected for testing.  A unique feature of the barricade is that its top cross member has a slot that will accept a plastic rail which can, in turn, be connected to succeeding barricades.  Rails are made of extruded vinyl measuring 25mm x 203 mm and are available in a variety of standard lengths.

Because of the unique interconnecting feature of the Multipurpose barricade, many possible barricade combinations and configurations could be selected for crash testing.  Testing of all combinations would not be practical or cost effective.  Therefore, a configuration representing a “worst case” in terms of potential warning light detachment and interaction with the windshield was selected for testing.

The selected test configuration consisted of three interconnected barricades for the “normal” impact orientation and two interconnected barricades for the “perpendicular” impact orientation. Standard 1829 mm long rails were used to connect the normal impact barricades and a standard 2438 mm long rail was used between perpendicular impact barricades.  The leading barricades in the normal and perpendicular orientations were each equipped with a warning light.


Full-scale automobile testing was conducted on your company' devices.  Two stand-alone examples of the devices were tested in tandem, one head-on and the next placed six meters downstream turned at 90 degrees, as called for in our guidance memoranda. 

The tests are summarized in the table below.


Roadmarker Multipurpose Barricade

Test Number

25-3117-001 (NCHRP 350 Test 3-71)

Sign Stand Tested

Three connected barricades

Two connected barricades


Normal (Head-on)


Weight of Tested Stand

16 kg

24 kg

Flags? Lights?

One Empco-Lite warning light on each assembly

Mass of Test Vehicle

809 kg

Impact Speed

102.5 km/h

99.6 km/h

Velocity Change

0.81 m/s

0.75 m/s

Extent of contact

Damage to grill, hood, and windshield

Windshield Damage

Minor windshield cracking from second Light

Other notes



Damage was limited to minor cosmetic damage and cracking to the windshield.  There were no holes, no deformation, and virtually no glass fragments inside the passenger compartment.  The results of the testing met the FHWA requirements and, therefore, the devices described in the various requests above and detailed in the enclosed drawings are acceptable for use on the NHS under the range of conditions tested, when proposed by a State.

Please note the following standard provisions that apply to FHWA letters of acceptance:

Sincerely yours,

Harry W. Taylor,
Acting Director, Office of Safety Design