Montana Department of Transportation

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Research

Use of Fluorescent Orange Delineators in Temporary Traffic Control Work Zones

Orange Delineators image

Road maintenance and reconstruction often present serious safety challenges to highway agencies due to the dynamic and variable work environment which may well be inconsistent with drivers’ expectations. As such, proper delineation of travel path through work zones is critical for safe and efficient work zone operations. Currently the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) only allows white and yellow delineators within temporary traffic control (TTC) work zones (section 6F.80, MUTCD 2009). Field observations suggest that using the conventional white and yellow delineation may not be adequate to effectively delineate traffic through work zones. The proposed research aims to evaluate new alternative fluorescent orange delineation devices for their effectiveness in guiding traffic through work zones. The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) used the new proposed devices (larger, 6" x 12", retro reflective fluorescent orange delineators) in lieu of the MUTCD approved white delineators in two rural reconstruction projects during summers 2015 and 2016. Pictures and observations were taken and recorded for the original and proposed delineation devices. MDT project inspectors report the new devices to offer better visibility even when the delineators become dusty and dirty. Traffic control contractors also prefer the larger delineators as they offer an even bigger target value. The fluorescent orange delineators are much more visible during nighttime, adverse weather conditions, and construction activities. Further, road users are familiar with the fluorescent orange color within wok zones which may aid in identifying travelled ways that are not self-explaining. The MUTCD allows the use of devices not described in Chapter 6 of the Manual but this must be based on an engineering study, which is the main impetus for the proposed effectiveness evaluation project.

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