By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA

ARTBA is asking the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to clarify its position on whether state transportation departments can use federal-aid highway funds to purchase movable safety barriers.

Movable concrete, steel and other highly mobile barriers are proven to be extremely effective in providing positive separation between workers and traffic, a federal goal articulated by Congress in surface transportation program law and strongly supported by the industry, ARTBA said in an April 27 letter to FHWA Administrator Greg Nadeau.

Movable barriers have also been demonstrated to greatly minimize traffic disruption time caused by roadway work zone operations, a key objective of state DOTs in the public interest, ARTBA noted.

FHWA’s lack of clear guidance “has essentially blocked the potential use of this innovative, life-saving product class on federal-aid highway projects across the nation,” ARTBA President & CEO Pete Ruane wrote. “This is unacceptable.”

Ruane continues, “there is no greater responsibility for those of us involved in the provision of transportation infrastructure than to do all that is possible to ensure the safety and well-being of the construction workers, motorists, truck drivers, cyclists and pedestrians who interact with our project work sites.”

The letter concludes: “On behalf of our public and private sector members, we ask that you remedy this situation expeditiously with clear written guidance to FHWA personnel and the state DOTs.”