Every year, thousands of accidents and hundreds of deaths on Virginia’s roadways are attributed to drivers running off the road. In 2018, the most recent year of reporting, Virginia experienced over 30,000 roadway departure crashes that resulted in 422 deaths and 13,000 injuries. Many of these crashes and deaths occur on lower volume primary and secondary routes. VDOT has implemented numerous system-wide initiatives focused on both driver and worker safety. Most notable are the use of Portable Temporary Rumble Strips (see Virginia Asphalt magazine May edition), centerline rumble strips and edge line rumble strips. In 2020, you can add Safety Edge to the list of system-wide enhancements.
Safety Edge, also known as Pavement Shoulder Wedge, will be implemented in 2020 as part of plant mix asphalt maintenance paving schedules. Certain construction contracts advertised in 2019 will include the provision for the use of Safety Edge. Safety Edge is defined as an approximately 30-degree angle on the outside longitudinal pavement edge (See Photo 1). This edge is created when attaching a device to the paver screed or end gate (See Photo 2).
While used sporadically in Virginia since 2014, approximately 20 state DOT’s routinely use Safety Edge including North Carolina and Maryland. Based on a recently completed study by FHWA, states that used Safety Edge saw a reduction in roadway departure accidents and deaths of 20%. If this reduction is seen in Virginia, VDOT expects to see reductions of more than 500 injuries and 26 deaths per year, once fully implemented across the primary and secondary systems.
Watch for the July edition of Asphalt News, where details on the specification and use guidelines will be provided.
Photos courtesy of FHWA