Traffic Happens
The Crash Cushion

Watching the above video of a TxDot sweeping operation brought back memories of my days as a TxDoT employee and working with a mobile pavement marking crew.

One of my greatest memories of this job is how slow we moved and how fast the public seemed to be driving.

While painting the road, our mobile operations top speed was normally  ten miles per hour and sometimes slower.  Combine that with highway traffic passing between 55 and 70 miles per hour and you have a recipe for disaster.

When performing these mobile operations we always had a mobile work zone present behind the paint truck.  This normally consisted of two large trucks (aka crash trucks) that had crash attenuators attached to their rear ends.  In the event of a rear end collision, these attenuator would absorb the impact.  (The above pictures shows a crash truck with the crash attenuator attached)

During those two years, there were many close calls, but thankfully I was never involved in an accident where the crash attenuators had to be utilized.

The video below shows a crash attenuator being hit.

You can see by the videos and picture above that this work is done very close to and on the roadway.  A moment never went by where in the back of my mind, I thought of how I could be hit by a car.

The City of San Antonio has a great webpage that explains the dynamics of crosswalks.

The City of West Des Moines, Iowa did a fantastic job creating this video on their pavement marking maintenance program.

Kudos to their efforts on keeping their citizens aware of this important activity.

You will need to click on the video link to watch.

On April 22, 2010, a Notice of Proposed Amendments was published in the Federal Register, proposing to revise the 2009 MUTCD by adding Standards, Guidance, Options, and Support information regarding maintaining minimum retroreflectivity of longitudinal pavement markings. The proposed revisions would establish a uniform minimum level of nighttime pavement marking performance based on the visibility needs of nighttime drivers, to promote safety, enhance traffic operations, and facilitate comfort and convenience for all drivers, including older drivers.

Comments must be received by August 20, 2010. See the Federal Register notice (HTMLPDF 77KB) for details on how to submit comments to the docket, which is numbered FHWA-2009-0139.

The proposed text for Revision 1 of the 2009 MUTCD can be viewed here: (HTMLPDF 155KB)

Additional information regarding pavement markings retroreflectivity, including pertinent research and the two documents listed below, may be viewed on the FHWA Office of Safety’s Nighttime Visibility Web site:

  • Revised Assessment Of Economic Impacts Of Implementing Minimum Levels Of Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity, Report No. FHWA-SA-10-016, January 2010.
  • DRAFT 4-page Summary of the MUTCD Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity Standard, Report No. FHWA-SA-10-015.

You will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the PDFs on this page.

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