Highway Care supplies end terminal and crash cushions for A500 project
For a 6 month period, Highway Care supplied end terminals and crash cushions for use along the A500 (Stoke on Trent). The Highways Agency were improving a stretch of the A500 between Etruria and Porthill. Since the start of this 2010 Amey, on behalf of the Highways Agency, working with Specialists under the Construction Management Framework 1 Contract (CMF1), have been replacing the road surface on both the northbound and southbound carriageways (Cemex), upgrading the lighting (Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions) and replacing 3.5km of safety fencing (Tarmac National Contracting).
The replacement safety fencing required a set of P4 end terminals and crash cushions to protect motorists from impacting the end of the guardrails. In total, 10 Xtension 110 P4 terminals, 3 Double Sided Xtensions and one TAU crash cushion were installed. The installers commented, “We found the Xtensions very easy to fit. The small number of parts allowed for a faster and therefore more cost-effective installation.”
Atkins, the scheme designers, specified the use of the Xtension P4 terminals and TAU crash cushions on the project after working in close collaboration with Highway Care’s technical team to determine which road safety products were required along the new stretch of safety fencing. Highway Care recommended the Double Sided Xtensions as a more cost-effective alternative to crash cushions being fitted on the slip roads. One site, in particular, had safety fencing positioned next to the end of a bridge parapet and therefore required extra protection. The TAU Crash Cushion, installed at this location, provided the ideal solution being able to protect the wider hazard of the safety fencing around the end of the parapet. Iain Campbell (Amey) stated that, “we were very pleased with the helpful and efficient technical assistance we received from Highway Care in establishing the most suitable products at each of the safety barrier terminations.”
Tarmac National Contracting was also pleased with the crash cushions and P4 terminals installed along the safety fencing to replace the ramped ends. “Having replaced the safety fencing with W-Beam, end terminals were needed to protect motorists from impacting the ramped ends. The Xtension P4 terminals and TAU crash cushion have satisfied this important safety requirement, while ensuring that our costs are kept to a minimum.”
The Xtension 110 P4 terminal provides many benefits which include having a universal handed head system for approach and departures as well as being easy to assemble. The Xtension is fully tested and approved to EN1317-4 with a class code of D1.1 which allows the system to be used on verge and central reserve applications. The Class Code of D.1.1 is the best test performance possible and means that when impacted the terminal not only remains within 0.5m from the barrier line into the carriageway and less than 1.0m from the barrier line back into the verge but that its mode of operation does not extend beyond these limits so it can be used safely where obstructions on the verge are at 1.0m from the barrier line.
The Xtension provides a safe termination for vehicles impacting it at up to 70mph compared to conventional ramped ends which can often launch vehicles up into the air. During head on impacts, the errant vehicle engages with the head of the system forcing a friction plate to slide along two heavy-duty cables, thereby safely dissipating the energy of the impact. If impacted along its length, it safely redirects the errant vehicle at a shallow exit angle. Its overall length and low displacement make it particularly suitable for restricted sites.
The Double Sided Xtension, used on the A500 slip roads, also provides a safety termination for barriers acting as an alternative to conventional double ramped end terminals. The Double Sided Xtension is approved for use on Highways Agency roads and can be used without a ‘Departure from Standard’. The system can be connected directly to W-beam barrier systems of N2 containment and W2 working width and requires fewer parts to other similar systems which allows for speedy installation, low repair costs and therefore lower lifetime costs.
The TAU crash cushion is a fully redirectional, bidirectional Z1, D1 system also fully approved by the Highways Agency. It is suitable for protecting vehicles from impacting much wider hazards such as bridge parapets or toll booths. When the system is impacted from the front, it simply telescopes rearwards, absorbing the energy and capturing the errant vehicle. If impacted from the side, the system redirects the vehicle safety at a shallow exit angle. The TAU crash cushion is highly reusable following an impact and can be repaired on site in typically less than 2 hours. These crash cushion systems are available in a variety of speed ratings up to 70mph and can protect hazards of widths ranging from 0.7 metres to 3.1 metres.
Recognising the life-saving properties of these systems, the highways industry continually strives to achieve better safety for road-users and reduce the impact of incidents on our roads. These crash cushion and end terminal systems are just some of the products available from suppliers such as Highway Care which are helping to achieve the aim of making the UK’s roads safer.