Call in the Pros

April 21, 2023
The benefits of hiring professional traffic control services

By Mark Ludewig, Contributing Author

As we wind down National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW), let’s look at the extra layers of safety and compliance that a professional traffic control services provider can bring to highway and construction projects.

Through professional training, certified flaggers are taught best practices for effective work zone setup, monitoring, and maintenance. These protectors are able to remain alert for signs of danger while directing traffic with finesse. They are also prepared to respond quickly to changing conditions.

The commitment to safety that certified flaggers bring to a work zone is undisputed, as evidenced by the increasing numbers of companies choosing to hire them. A professional flagger should be American Traffic Safety Service Association (ATSSA) trained and certified having also completed OSHA-required safety training (including first aid and CPR), state-specific temporary traffic control training, and defensive driver training.

A professional traffic control engineer ensures that all procedures for safe work zone setup are followed and align to state and local regulations. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD), published by the Federal Highway Administration, defines the standards used by road managers nationwide to install and maintain traffic control measures.

Additionally, each state has established its own standards for the design of temporary work zones. Prior to deployment, all traffic control plans should have the approval of a qualified engineer who stays up to date on changing requirements.

Including the latest safety innovations like Automated Flagger Assistance Devices (AFADs) and portable temporary rumble strips (PTRS), a professional traffic control services provider will have access to technologies and tools to help ensure the safety of workers and motorists.

Many of these devices combine environmental monitoring and wireless communication capabilities to automatically detect dangers and alert workers, or in the case of temporary rumble strips, offer a convenient method to enhance site safety. Working with a well-equipped services provider can save companies 50% or more versus the cost of renting specialized equipment that also requires training to set up and operate.

Often a traffic control plan must be designed with enough flexibility to accommodate the different stages of a project over months or years. Along the way, it is important to coordinate with local governments and transportation authorities to minimize disruption to cities.

Furthermore, the construction team and municipality must develop a plan of action so that local agencies such as police, fire, and EMS understand and anticipate possible service disruptions. Affected businesses and residents must also be notified of the work prior to the start of the project. A professional services company can provide the quality management these activities demand so that firms can stay focused on construction.

Professionals know the rules and regulations for local projects and tend to be better prepared to handle issues that may arise, such as unexpected spills or the need to modify the work zone setup. By utilizing traffic control services, companies can also prevent fines and avoid noncompliance issues.

It is easy to assume that all services are similar in execution; however, you cannot trust the job to just anyone―a certified traffic management professional has received extensive training and reinforcement to prepare them for critical assignments. Services administered by real experts can benefit any project in terms of efficiency and consistent application of best practices.

Repairing America’s roads and bridges will take decades and result in a multitude of work zone setups requiring the careful consideration of traffic control specialists. Safely navigating this era of infrastructure renewal can be made easier through the effective deployment of people and technologies that work in tandem to protect crews and the public.

Let’s close the week by remembering work zone safety is a responsibility we all share, every day. R&B

Mark Ludewig is the vice president of Safety for AWP Safety.

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