There’s a quiet revolution going on in world of road maintenance.
The sight of miles of traffic cones on the motorway could become a thing of the past, thanks to a host of innovations that fix the road without any lane closures.
Traffex Seeing Is Believing at Bruntingthorpe, next week is the only event of its kind which allows high-speed crash demos and outdoor showcasing for live road repairs.
At the two-day event, invited trade, public services and media visitors will see:
All the way from Bondi Beach, Road Rake (right) is an adaptation that gobbles up debris from crashes. It collects wheels, shredded tyres, bumpers, damaged lights as well as general litter left behind by thoughtless drivers.
Kier developed the machine to help tackle the 200,000 sacks of rubbish routinely collected by Highways England which is both costly and dangerous to road workers.
Covering a 4km stretch of road takes approximately two hours – and Road Rake clears up junk without the need to close lanes or put workers at risk from fast-moving traffic.
The 83-foot Mobile Barrier provides exceptional protection for both road workers and motorists and reduces the severity of incidents in and around work zones.
It acts as a physical protection vehicle, absorbing impacts from moving vehicles if struck from the side, and a lorry-mounted crash cushion behind gives further protection from the rear.
Mobile Barrier possibilities are being developed to further reduce road worker exposure. The barriers originated in the United States where works zones incursions have led to several fatalities.
In use on the highway network in the West Midlands, Roadmender not only fixes roads first time in record time, but also makes use of recycled scrap road planings.
Kier’s Roadmender allows exact quantities of asphalt to be mixed to the correct temperature and quantity and laid on site. Using this vehicle means more than 3 tonnes of waste a week no longer going to landfill. Projects can be completed in one visit, saving time and cost, and reducing C02 emissions.
Four crash demonstrations
Four live demonstrations will show, for the first time in public, the effects of crashing into a traditional, rigid lamp-post at high speed vs the same crash into a “passive” lamp-post, as well as a low-speed urban crash into a lightweight aluminium signpost.
Hinged lamp-post not only fold on impact, but are easier and safer to maintain.
Following the demonstrations, visitors are invited to see for themselves the effects of each impact and the performance in each scenario. Even the run-up to the crash is dramatic: the crash car is remotely controlled and guided by a police-style ‘TPAC’ or Tactical Pursuit and Containment manoeuvre.
Other innovations being demonstrated include solar powered CCTV cameras currently trialled on the M42 by the motorcycle museum near Birmingham; wearable technology to improve roadworker safety; a robot used to mark out parking bays; and a dot-matrix printer that can mark any image on to the road surface.
This bespoke, employee-inspired 18-tonne truck installs road studs. As well as removing vulnerable roadworkers from the carriageway, the system reduces exposure to dust and debris, ensures safer handling of hot materials, increases efficiency and reduces cost.
The UK has approximately 12 million road studs on the national and local road network, all requiring maintenance or replacement at some point.
The WJ Guardian innovative method means that workers do not need to stand and operate equipment, but are protected within the unique safety cell. It has reduced incidents and near misses by 100%.
Safety Cam is an innovative dual camera system which can spot both road workers speeding through construction sites and road users who illegally drive through cones. It is currently being extensively tested across motorways and main A roads managed by Highways England. In the first trials, in the West Midlands, a 50 per cent month-on-month reduction was recorded in road workers driving 10mph above the signed limit through sites. And in Essex the number of roadworks incursions reduced by more than 80%.
A new-style police camera will be on UK roads later this year. LASERcam 4, a mobile speed enforcement camera from Truvelo, combines class-leading laser speedmeter capabilities with high quality video to address a series of driving and criminal offences.
LASERcam 4 delivers performance levels exceeding those previously only seen in bulky tripod-mounted equipment. Additionally, years of intensive development have seen advances in video technology, processing speed, laser performance, and reduced power requirements which are all combined for the first time in LASERcam 4. Demonstrations of LASERcam 4 will take place at the track-side throughout Traffex Seeing Is Believing.
Valerann Road Studs
“Smart” road studs are wireless, sensory, and provide real-time, high resolution information about everything that takes place on the road.
This information is used to detect risks, prevent accidents, optimize intersections, automate traffic control centres, and support connected & autonomous vehicles.