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Traffic Separator Curbing Saves Lives and Guides Traffic

Traffic separator curbing saves lives by preventing accidents and helping to ensure the orderly flow of traffic, especially in temporary or unusual situations where traffic patterns may differ from the norm.  However, to achieve this purpose, it’s vital to use curbing in accordance with best practices.  In this post we will summarize these rules.  This is a high-level introduction to the topic, so please refer to the current edition of the MUTCD for detailed guidelines.

Fundamentals of Traffic Separator Curbing Use

Section 6B.01 of the MUTCD lists the following principles for using traffic separator curbing:

  • The altered traffic path should resemble the normal routes as closely as possible.
  • Managers should schedule repair or maintenance work in the traffic separator curbing zone so that it causes minimal disruption to the smooth, orderly flow of vehicles and/or pedestrians.  At the very least, crews should avoid performing work on high traffic lanes during peak hours.
  • Road crews should coordinate their efforts with emergency responders, so that help can be dispatched quickly to the scene in case of an accident.
  • It’s important to place warning signs well ahead of actual changes in traffic conditions to give motorists ample time to respond.
  • Crews should have contingency plans in place should police, fire, or rescue units require speedy passage through the work zone.
  • Traffic separator curbing and other enhanced safety measures should be highly visible to oncoming traffic, even at night or during periods of inclement weather.
  • Temporary traffic control measures should be removed as soon as there is no longer a need for them.
  • Engineers should conduct initial studies prior to the placement of traffic separator curbing or other temporary measures to assess possible impact on safety conditions.
  • Normal speed limits should be reduced only to the extent that conditions required

Traffic separator curbing is a versatile measure that belongs in any safety department’s tool chest.  Gaining the most benefit from these products, however, requires using them in accord with the principles outlined above.