In the last few years, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has implemented several safety initiatives to enhance safety in work zones for both drivers and workers.
As one of those safety initiatives, TxDOT added temporary portable rumble strips (TPRS) to lane closures, effective with May 2013 bid lettings.
TPRS arrays were recently deployed on a one-lane, two-way road near Seguin. TxDOT launched a project to repair the shoulder that required closing a travel lane. As such, the project called for pilot car and flagging services with RoadQuake 2F Folding TPRS devices, manufactured by Plastic Safety Systems.
N-Line Traffic Maintenance, of Bryan, Texas, provided flagging services for the Seguin project. Because of its work-zone experience with distracted drivers, N-Line recognized TPRS’s ability to alert drivers to upcoming road changes.
Mike Jones, flagging area flagging supervisor for N-Line, said, “We started using temporary rumble strips and more crews feel safer when flagging in an operation using them.”
Most flaggers can see drivers visibly react and become more attentive after driving over a TPRS array. Flaggers also have noticed that drivers have a tendency to slow down. Finally, and not least importantly, workers can hear the “da-dump” sounds vehicles make when crossing an array, giving them an audible warning that traffic is approaching.
Jones described problems he and his crews routinely encounter in flagging operations. “The worst problems in work zones as far as the traveling public is concerned [are] first, their lack of patience. Secondly, drivers are distracted; they’re not alert. We need to alert the traveling public that the road is about to be worked on.”
He noted that TPRS arrays also help reduce driver speeds. “They actually assist the flagger in slowing down the traffic, and keeping the traveling public aware that the road conditions are about to change,” Jones said.
With about 2,500 work zones active at any given time in Texas, workers and drivers will feel safer with TPRS arrays deployed.