C+S March 2023 Vol. 9 Issue 3 (web)

Building, renovating, and expanding infrastructure and public works projects present unique challenges to civil engineers and traffic control planners. From state highway expansions to new urban development to repairs to aging airports, effective traffic control planning is critical for safety, efficiency, and overall project success. Effective planning pro - vides road users, workers, and pedestrians the information they need to safely navigate through the construction area and helps the project stay on schedule and budget. Planning for traffic control in civil engineering construction projects is a complex process having many variables. Any plan must address five main elements: the traffic flows, visibility and signage, regulations, logistics, and budget. In this article we'll touch on the key elements of the plan, the challenges these projects face, and the strategies that help bring about a safe completion. Traffic flows Whether a standard or unique design, all traffic control plans must be developed in compliance with the Federal Highway Administration's Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), ensuring that operations are safe, efficient, and properly regulated. This starts by assessing existing conditions. Construction areas are surveyed, traffic origin and destination patterns are identified, an assessment of existing traffic control devices is conducted, and the appropriate type and size of traffic control devices are determined. Traffic flow planning components include the design of the construc - tion area layout, the provision of clear access for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists, and the implementation of speed limits. Planners also need to be aware of any potential hazards such as construction vehicles entering the site or pedestrians crossing roadways with limited visibil- ity. Plans must address any disruptions to the normal flow of vehicular and foot traffic, such as detours and lane and sidewalk closures, and ensure that all access points are clearly marked, and drivers are notified of any temporary restrictions. Sharing the work area plan with the general public is another critical step. When there is a detour route in use, it is important to provide a call ahead to businesses and residents along the route in order to mini- mize any disruption. This can involve mailing detour notices to area residents and posting signs along the route. Alternative routes should be clearly provided in the notice. Applying Effective Traffic Control Planning to Civil Engineering Construction Projects By Mark Ludewig

Visibility and signage Once the plan has been developed, it is important to implement it us- ing proper signage, appropriate barricades, and other traffic control devices. Visibility issues must be carefully considered. This includes providing adequate warning signs at the entrance and exit of the con - struction zone, and strategically placed lighting to ensure visibility at night. Protective barriers can also be put up to prevent the pedestrian footpaths from becoming blocked or narrow. Signs must be used to clearly mark construction area boundaries and direct traffic. Signs should also be placed at key points in the project including temporary traffic lights and provisional parking areas. In recent years, the construction sector has grown increasingly reliant on automated technology to improve efficiency and safety. Automated Flagger Assistance Devices (AFADs) are becoming a must-have for protecting workers and the public in work zones. These devices can patrol and signal an area either by light or sound and are usually pow- ered by solar energy. AFADs come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can incorporate other safety mechanisms beyond alarm systems such as security cameras. When the project has been completed, it is also essential to properly remove the traffic control signage and devices. This should be done immediately, as leaving these items in place may cause confusion and It is essential that both federal and state requirements regarding traffic control are strictly adhered to in order to minimize the risk of accidents and injury. Current federal regulations pertaining to traffic control in work zones are laid out in the MUTCD. These provide a baseline for uniform temporary traffic control devices and layout guidance to be employed in work zones by the various states, ensuring consistency of safety measures nationwide. Outlined in the MUTCD are the vari - ous types of signs, signal, and pavement marking devices necessary to ensure the roadways are utilized safely. In addition to following the MUTCD, each state is responsible for establishing their own standards for the design and placement of these temporary traffic control devices, and for providing information about work zone rules and regulations for their specific roadway systems. The document is updated every few years to keep up with changes in technology and advances in traffic engineering. As a result, it is always important to reference the latest version of the MUTCD for a particular state before work begins. Notable is that work zones involving hazardous materials will have much different safety requirements than a typical scenario. This in- cludes ensuring that all workers are made aware of the possible kinds of hazardous materials present in the work zone as well as establishing clear guidelines for safely vacating and confining the area in the event of an emergency. even hazards. Regulations


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