Contractor successfully tests Temporary Portable Rumble Strips

Aug. 25, 2017

Last October, Shelly & Sands, a prime highway contractor, installed RoadQuake 2F Temporary Portable Rumble Strip (TPRS) arrays in two Ohio work zones. The installation, conducted in partnership with Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Ohio Contractors Association (OCA), tested the effectiveness of TRPS arrays in Ohio work zones.

Temporary portable rumble strips are designed to alert distracted drivers through sound and vibration, as drivers traverse the rumble strips. Having driven over the strips, distracted drivers usually return their focus to their driving.

The first work zone was located on Rte. 22 in Cadiz, Ohio, near the West Virginia and Pennsylvania borders. Cadiz is about 30 miles northwest of Wheeling, WV, and 60 miles southwest of Pittsburgh.

Shelly & Sands installed two, three-strip arrays in each direction, in advance of the Rte. 22 work zone; the posted speed limit was 55 mph. Drivers traversed one array of strips, then another, before entering the work zone. The arrangement of two arrays was crucial, as the second array, the one further upstream, functions to alert distracted drivers, but it also warns drivers that:

  • The initial array, the one closer to the work area, is not debris on the road;
  • The arrays have been deployed intentionally;
  • Drivers will soon approach a change in the road condition and must take action; and
  • They should not accelerate as they approach the changing road condition.

Moreover, the sounds generated by the two-array arrangement alerts workers that traffic is approaching.

Shelly & Sands considered the Cadiz work-zone test to be successful. They reported that “after hitting the rumble strips drivers looked up from their cell phones.” Also, though speed reduction is an ancillary benefit of a TPRS installation, not the primary purpose, Shelly & Sands reported that “the project was successful in slowing traffic down before they approached the work zone. Brake lights could be seen as drivers were approaching or hitting the rumble strips.”

The second test took place in a work zone in Zanesville, Ohio, corporate headquarters of Shelly & Sands. The work zone was on WB I-70, with a posted speed limit of 70 mph. For this application, Shelly & Sands installed two arrays in both the passing and driving lanes. Each array consisted of six rumble strips set 20 ft apart on center. Handling of the arrays was fast, easy and safe; crews took about 80 sec to install and remove each six-strip array.

As in Cadiz, Shelly & Sands reported success in the Zanesville work zone. As this was a night project, brake lights were often seen when drivers approached the arrays. The TPRS arrays alerted drivers, and warned the workers of approaching traffic. The Zanesville work zone crew was “very appreciative, and wished they could have had the rumble strips for the duration of the project.”

After the two successful work-zone tests, Shelly & Sands stated, “As contractors, we believe anything we can do to improve work zone safety and help prevent distracted driving should be considered, and the portable rumble strips are a great solution to help solve this problem. We plan on using the portable rumble strip in the future, and will also recommend their use to others in the road construction industry.”

Earlier this week, Shelly & Sands installed RoadQuake 2F TPRS in a work zone located on I-76, between Bailey Road and the Ohio Turnpike, in the Warren-Youngstown area. We will report the findings of this test in a future case study.

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