FHWA Safety Update

Crashworthy Work Zone Traffic Control Devices : Revised Procedures for submitting Work Zone Traffic Control Devices to FHWA Effective January 1, 2006

Federal Highway Administration policy calls for the use of crashworthy channelizers, signs, barricades, barriers, etc., in work zones on the National Highway System. “Crashworthy” devices are those that have passed a crash test conducted under the guidance of NCHRP Report 350. From the links on this page you can read about FHWA policy on crashworthy hardware, learn about the different categories of work zone devices, search for FHWA Acceptance Letters on all devices that have been deemed crashworthy, review Frequently Asked Questions about work zone devices, and more.

FHWA guidance on crash testing of work zone traffic control devices is contained in two memoranda. The first, dated July 25, 1997, titled “Information: Identifying Acceptable Highway Safety Features,” [HTMLPDF 1.24 MB] established four categories of work zone devices:

  • Category I devices were those lightweight devices which could be self-certified by the vendor.
  • Category II devices were other lightweight devices which needed individual crash testing.
  • Category III devices were barriers and other fixed or massive devices also needing crash testing.
  • Category IV devices were trailer mounted lighted signs, arrow panels, etc.

The second guidance memorandum, “INFORMATION: Crash Tested Work Zone Traffic Control Devices” [PDF 3.72 MB] was issued on August 28, 1998 This more recent memorandum lists devices that are acceptable under Categories I, II, and III, and provided compliance dates for hardware to be used on the National Highway System. All new work zone hardware on the NHS must now comply and be crashworthy, with the exception of Category IV trailer mounted devices. FHWA will continue to monitor the crash history of these devices and intends to issue additional guidance in October of 2006.

FHWA streamlined its procedure for accepting crashworthy Category 2 work zone traffic control devices in its memorandum dated November 18, 2005. Under the new procedures that go into effect on January 1, 2006, developers who want the Federal Highway Administration to acknowledge the crashworthiness of their new or redesigned hardware must complete the form [PDF - 75KB] available on the website and submit it along with the appropriate attachments. In addition to electronic drawings and a detailed description of the device, the form requires a signature from the crash test laboratory that conducted the NCHRP Report 350 assessment. It also includes a selection of keywords that will allow users of FHWA website to locate the letter easily.

If the form is filled out completely, and all required items on the form’s checklistare included, the form will be assigned a “WZ” number, dated, and added to the agency’s web list of Category 2 Acceptance Letters. The new procedure will improve the turn around time of crashworthiness acceptance, and ensure that new hardare is posted to the web site in a timely manner. FHWA will conduct periodic in-depth reviews of the crash testing on a spot basis.

For more on this, please visit: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/roadway_dept/policy_guide/road_hardware/wzd/

Posted in: Blogroll, Featured, Latest News on July 19th by WBMA

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