Festival employs FHWA accepted barricades for crowd safety and control

October 16, 2015
SafetyWall is an ADA-compliant longitudinal channelizer that aids all pedestrians, regardless of their required level of guidance.
SafetyWall is an ADA-compliant longitudinal channelizer that aids all pedestrians, regardless of their required level of guidance.

On Oct. 23, the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce (CC) will host the 26th Annual Sea Witch Halloween and Fiddler’s Festival. The festival features three full days of events. Among several choices, attendees can enjoy trick-or-treating and haunted bonfires on Friday, the Fiddler Festival and Costume Parade on Saturday, and a 5K Race/Walk and Scarecrow Building on Sunday. Live music is featured throughout the entire festival. Saturday’s Costume Parade is one of the highlights of the festival. The parade route begins at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Hall and continues along Rehoboth Avenue, a major east-west route. Marching bands and floats, staged just down the street, will merge with the costumed walkers on Rehoboth Avenue and complete the parade route together. 

The CC has historically deployed “bicycle rack-style” crowd-control barricades along the parade route to protect and guide pedestrians. However, the Delaware Department of Transportation recently had informed event producers around the state that they must deploy crashworthy pedestrian barricades on public rights-of-way—and the reason is quite simple. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), which has the force and effect of law, specifies in Section 6F.63 Standard the use of crashworthy devices.

As a result, the Rehoboth CC would not rent the “bicycle rack-style” barricades for the 2015 Sea Witch Festival. This type of barricade has not been crash-tested under either NCHRP-350 or AASHTO MASH crash-test procedures, and the FHWA has issued no acceptance letters for this type of barricade. Consequently, in its search for crashworthy devices, the CC contacted Plastic Safety Systems (PSS) to discuss SafetyWall, an ADA-compliant pedestrian longitudinal channelizer and barricade. 

SafetyWall was successfully tested as a longitudinal channelizer under MASH Test Level 3 procedures, and the FHWA issued acceptance letter WZ-315 to PSS in May 2012 confirming that SafetyWall “meets the crash test and evaluation criteria” of MASH.

In addition to its crashworthiness, SafetyWall complies with MUTCD standards and ADA guidelines as a pedestrian, longitudinal channelizer by providing three forms of guidance to pedestrians at a public event:

·      Continuous guidance: SafetyWall is an interlocking device, with no gaps between units, providing safe, continuous guidance;

·      Hand-trailing guidance: Pedestrians with limited vision can trail a hand along the smooth, continuous upper surface; and

·      Cane-ready guidance: Pedestrians with limited vision can tap a walking cane against the lower surface, which is free of any gaps that might trap the cane.

Finally, SafetyWall is obstacle-free. It has no protrusions or intrusions into the walkway, such as barricade feet or bases that could trip pedestrians. 

Early in the conversation with the Rehoboth CC, PSS discovered that a turn-key, barricade rental service was required. PSS then brought Dimensional Products Inc. (DPI), of Reisterstown, Md., into the conversation with the Rehoboth CC. DPI is a PSS distributor and preferred dealer of the RoadQuake Temporary Portable Rumble Strip Safety System. 

DPI will provide some 4,800 linear ft of SafetyWall for the Sea Witch Festival. Deployment will begin on Friday night, Oct. 23rd, the night before the parade. DPI will then remove the units immediately after the parade, which will end around 1 pm on Saturday, Oct. 24th. The results of this installation will appear in a subsequent Roads & Bridges Case Study, scheduled for Nov. 6, 2015.

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