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Using Lane Dividers During Road Construction

Lane dividers fall under the category of temporary traffic control (TTC) devices.  These products are especially useful for creating temporary two-way lanes.  Getting the most value from lane dividers, however, requires using them in accordance with sound traffic management principles.  This post will cover suggested guidelines for this practice based on information from a publication of the Federal Highway Administration.

Principles for Using Lane Dividers and Other TTC Devices

  • Construction activity should cause only minimal interference to existing traffic patterns.  This is important because people are creatures of habit, and any change in their daily routine can lead to distracted or impulsive behavior.
  • Make sure lane dividers and other TTC devices provide clear directions for navigating through the TTC zone.  Use graphics instead of words when possible.  In cases where officials must use written text, they should choose short, to-the-point messages displayed prominently.
  • Inspect and maintain TTC devices on a regular basis.  Make sure your staff is trained to perform these tasks.
  • Don’t rely purely on TTC devices like lane dividers to prevent accidents.  Follow all recommended guidelines for work zone safety, including storing materials and equipment away from the flow of traffic and creating buffer zones for straying vehicles.
  • Ensure that motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians always have a route to their destinations.  For example, if road work should require closing a section of sidewalk, the crew should make sure to mark an alternate route for foot traffic to follow.
  • Stay on good terms with the driving public by providing advance notice of road construction projects.  Some ways of spreading the word include radio and TV, public notices, and the internet.

Managing the nation’s infrastructure requires balancing multiple factors.  On one hand, citizens should be able to travel freely to their destinations.  On the other hand, road construction departments are obligated to keep streets and highways in good repair.  While lane dividers and other TTC devices may not offer perfect solutions to meeting these challenges, they can prevent many accidents and make our nation’s roads safer for all who use them.