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Traffic Separator Curbing is Tricky but Manageable

Traffic separator curbing is used to channelize travel lanes.  Normally constructed of tubular markers and high-density plastic curbs, it’s often used in temporary locations such as around construction sites.  As it must withstand the rigors of use around congested areas, it should meet the following criteria:

  1. It should be able to absorb impacts from vehicles undamaged.  It should stay in its base even if struck multiple times.  It should also be unaffected by wide temperature ranges.
  2. It should be continuous and bolted tightly to the underlying pavement.  Tubes must be bolted or pinned to the curb.  Curbing must be able to stay upright throughout the day and be unaffected by high winds and other weather phenomena.
  3. Posts should be of standardized heights for the sake of both visibility and uniformity.  Commonly accepted heights are 36”, 42”, and 48”.
  4. Delineator posts should be a minimum of three inches in diameter where it faces approaching traffic and at least two inches in diameters in all other directions.
  5. Posts should have at least two reflective bands 3” wide or wider.  The higher band should be within two inches of the top of the structure.


The manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) lists seven principles for the use of all temporary traffic control (TTC) measures, including separator curbing:

  1. The same principles that govern the creation of permanent road markers should be employed in designing TTCs.
  2. TTCs should interfere with road worker’s movement as little as possible.
  3. TTCs should give approaching motorist, bicyclists, and foot traffic adequate advance warning of changing traffic conditions.
  4. TTC components should be regularly inspected during both day and night.
  5. TTC placement should allow for vehicles to pull off the road surface in cases of accidents and/or mechanical trouble.
  6. Those who work around TTC structures should be trained in their use.
  7. The needs of motorists, nearby property owners, emergency responders, and the community at large should be addressed when planning the use of TTCs.


By following these guidelines, traffic separator curbing and other TTC measures can be an enhancement to public safety, not a hindrance.