February 12, 2004
Refer to: HSA-10/WZ-170
Mr. John Richardson
President, Premier Plastics, Ltd.
8328 River Way
Delta, British Columbia V4G 1C4 Canada
Dear Mr. Richardson:
Thank you for your letter of November 27, 2003, requesting Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) acceptance of your company's "Road Runner" portable traffic 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 Karco Engineering and video clips of the test. 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 are those lightweight devices which are to be self-certified by the vendor, Category II devices are other lightweight devices which need individual crash testing but with reduced instrumentation, Category III devices are barriers and other fixed or heavy devices also needing crash testing with normal instrumentation, and Category IV devices are trailer mounted lighted signs, arrow panels, etc. for which crash testing requirements have not yet been established. 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:
The Premier Plastics Road Runner UT portable traffic safety barricades have a rectangular base and taper to the top, giving them a trapezoidal side profile. Each unit is approximately 980 mm (3.2 feet) high and has a base that measures 1700 mm (5.6 feet) long and 760 mm (2.5 ft) wide. While these barriers have hollow walls to allow them to be filled with water, this test was run without water. The weight of each unit was 25 kg (55 pounds.) For use near high-speed traffic, a maximum of 45 pounds of water is recommended to bring the total weight of the barricade unit to 100 pounds. A drawing is enclosed for reference.
Full-scale automobile testing was conducted on your company' devices. Two stand-alone examples of the device 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. Each unit had a Flex-o-lite Paralta warning light attached.
The tests are summarized in the table below.
|Device Tested||"Road Runner" portable traffic barricades|
|Weight of Tested Device||25 kg|
|Flags? Lights?||Flexolite Paralta flashing lamp|
|Mass of Test Vehicle||790 kg|
|Impact Speed||100.95 km/hr|
|Velocity Change||7.35 km/hr|
|Occupant impact speed||2.0 meters per second|
|Extent of contact||Light came off , hit hood, went over windshield||No contact with vehicle|
|Windshield Damage||No contact||No contact|
Damage caused by test device was negligible. Both barricade segments were pushed ahead of the test vehicle. No contact was made with the windshield by any part of the barricades. The warning light lens separated from the first barricade unit and impacted the hood. It then flew over the windshield without making further contact with the automobile. You subsequently recommended that the existing ½ inch bolt be replaced by a 6 ½ inch long, ½ inch diameter bolt to accommodate the thickness of the unit. Also, a 3 ½ inch diameter galvanized steel plate with a 2 inch fender washer should be placed near the bolt head.
The results of the testing met FHWA requirements and, therefore, the devices described above and detailed in the enclosed drawings are acceptable for use as Type I or Type II barricades on NHS under the range of conditions tested, when proposed by a State. Note that retroreflective sheeting is required by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD, Figure 6F-7). Also note that this acceptance only covers the use of "Road Runner" units as stand alone barricades. Additional testing is required if you wish to market these devices, when linked together, as longitudinal channelizing barricades.
Please note the following standard provisions that apply to FHWA letters of acceptance:
(Original Signed by John R. Baxter)
John R. Baxter, P.E.
Director, Office of Safety Design
Office of Safety