CASE STUDY: Varenne, Québec, upgrades road hardware to reduce crashes

Aug. 1, 2014

The city of Varenne, Québec, is on a mission to improve the safety of Canadian highways while saving taxpayer dollars. After recently completing a bridge replacement project on Autoroute 30, the city of Varenne decided to upgrade already-installed road departure devices.

Many contractors, engineers and road authorities are looking for road departure devices that employ simpler installation procedures, fewer proprietary parts and a lighter-weight impact head.

With lighter and simpler devices, contractors would need less time and fewer crew members to install them. The bottom line would be savings for Québec.

Also near the top of the wish list is end treatments that have the flexibility to be configured for a variety of applications. A consistent performance record, with low repair costs and with minimal inventory requirements, also would contribute to Varenne’s successful roadside upgrades.

After careful review of all NCHRP 350-approved end terminals, Varenne decided on the use of the X-Lite end terminals made by Lindsay Transportation Solutions, Omaha, Neb.

X-Lite impact heads weigh only 28 lb while using up to 34% fewer components—and with a higher ratio of nonproprietary components—than other end terminals on the market. As a result, Varenne’s contractors should be able to install the end terminals with an experienced crew in less than 15 minutes. X-Lite end terminals are available in tangent or flared configurations, so engineers only need to specify one type of end terminal as a road departure device. They also use telescoping technology found in much higher priced nongating crash cushions to better capture an errant vehicle.

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