Luncheon gathering at 2018 National Work Zone Management Conference.

By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA

Despite the threat of Hurricane Florence, public and private transportation construction officials from nearly every state this week came to Herndon, Virginia, to learn the latest on portable variable speed limits, autonomous vehicles and other technology, roadway safety hardware compliance, and related topics at the 2018 National Work Zone Management Conference.

The biennial conference is hosted by the ARTBA Foundation-managed National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse. This year’s event also included a one-day workshop on Work Zone Activity Data; the Transportation Research Board’s AHB55 Work Zone Traffic Control Mid-Year Meeting; and Work Zone Innovation sessions featuring the latest products designed to improve work zone safety and traffic management.

Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Commissioner Stephen C. Brich stepped aside from a number of emergency evacuation efforts due to the storm to share information on the state’s work zone mobility and safety efforts. A particularly moving part of his presentation focused on a VDOT worker who was seriously injured earlier this year when a tractor trailer left the travel lanes and struck his vehicle.

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) highway engineer Menna Yassin discussed the Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH), which is being phased in to replace the National Cooperative Highway Research Program Report 350 (NCHRP 350) standards.

New permanent installations and full replacement of cable barriers, cable terminals, and crash cushions must meet the new standards by Dec. 31. Bridge rails, transitions, longitudinal barriers, sign supports, all other breakaway hardware and temporary work zone devices have until Dec. 31, 2019, to meet the standards.

Yassin said only three states–Connecticut, Iowa, and Oregon–have indicated they will not meet the FHWA deadline, which apply only to roadways on the National Highway System. States can determine their own standards for other roads, including those that surpass MASH.

ARTBA Senior Vice President of Education & Safety Brad Sant provided an update on the Safety Certification for Transportation Project Professionals (SCTPP) program, which earlier this year received American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accreditation. He emphasized the importance of making sure that those who make safety decisions every day on the job site have the information and tools available to ensure those decisions are the right ones that protect workers and motorists.

Thanks to 2018 Conference Sponsors

Sponsorship support is key to the development and execution of this and other ARTBA Foundation events. We wish to thank this year’s Work Zone Management Conference sponsors:

Gold:

  • Hill & Smith
  • Ver-Mac
  • Laura Metaal Road Safety

Silver:

  • Gregory
  • Lindsay
  • Street Smart
  • Mobile Barriers
  • PSS
  • Horizon Signal Technologies