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Traffic control is the foundation for any jobsite where work is being conducted along a roadway. Vehicles DO NOT always pay attention to driving, in general, and their distractions could land a vehicle into our work areas.
The proper signage needs to be erected prior to the start of work in accordance with the Manual for Uniform Traffic Control. The purpose of this manual is to provide signage that looks identical from work area to work area. A stop sign, for example, looks like a stop sign everywhere you go. It is the same, color, shape, font, etc. providing a clear directive for the driver.
Unlike walking, motorists are moving at rapid speeds, which means their decision-making time is being processed over a short amount of time. The brain is introduced to stimuli, in which it inputs the stimuli, codes and manipulates it through a storage process, then outputs what it has processed in the form of a reaction. At a rapid rate of travel, the brain is having to process multiple stimuli very quickly. So, the reaction time is very limited.
This is why it is important to have uniform traffic control measures. Signs and barricades provide the motorist with a clear set of instructions, so that we can communicate to them quickly where we need them to navigate, avoiding collisions and struck by potentials.
Traffic Control Essentials
- Signs – “One Land Ahead,” “Merge Left/Right,” “Flagger,” “Road Work Ahead”
- Cones to direct traffic flow AROUND the work area
- Certified flaggers to STOP and RELEASE traffic. Note: Flaggers are not authorized to DIRECT traffic; only law enforcement can do so.
Signage – Basic Requirements
- Signs are orange and reflective
- Signs need to be placed at specific intervals:
- Low speeds (under 40mph) – 100’
- High speeds (over 40mph) – 350’
- Rural areas – 500’
- Height of 5’ to the bottom of sign (for temporary work – breaking down each night)
- Class 3 Ensemble – high vis. vest and pants
- Paddle to communicate Stop/Slow
- Radios for effective communication between one another.
- Cones tapered to establish the traffic flow:
- TRANSITION AREA
- WORK AREA
- TERMINATION AREA
- “Sidewalk Closed” to protect pedestrians from entering the work area
- Discuss the traffic plan with ALL workers and discuss the operations that will take place and how they might impact traffic (for example: a backhoe needing the travel lane to maneuver and re-position itself)