The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) highlighted the effectiveness of high friction surface treatments (HFST) in speedy application and improving friction qualities of pavements during a recent demonstration in North Cornwall Township.
HFST involves using long lasting and water-resistant aggregates to increase tire “grip” on pavements to minimize slippage and improve stopping time in wet conditions. The goal also is to use fast-setting materials with these aggregates in creating the pavements so as to have a “minimal impact to the traveling public.”
“PennDOT as a whole is incorporating this technique into our toolbox to address locations known for crashes due to wet pavement or reduced pavement friction,” PennDOT Deputy Secretary Scott Christie said. “We’re eager to work with our local government partners to assist them in adapting this innovative technique to enhance roadway safety in their communities.”
The test area uses for the demonstration was on an “S-curve” on Route 241 in North Cornwall Township, an area recognized in a PennDOT safety study to have created conditions resulting in an average of 11 crashes per year since 2008.
“I had the opportunity to attend classes on the High Friction Surface Treatment process, and realized this application could be a solution to reduce crashes, increase motorist safety, and reduce the burden on the township’s police department, and safety response units,” North Cornwall Township Public Works Director Thomas J. Long said. “I highly recommend any municipality experiencing similar dangerous roadway conditions to consider high friction surface treatment as a solution to reduce accidents on their state and local roads.”
PennDOT has applied HFST to roadways in 63 sites, with another 121 being identified as future possible locations for the treatment. The department says the state averages roughly 450 major injuries and 200 deaths per year from wet pavement crashes.
Representatives from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC) also were involved in the demonstration. The STIC promotes HFST usage with the FHWA’s Every Day Counts initiative, an effort that aims to improve motorist safety at “high priority crash locations” across Pennsylvania.
“When it comes to the business of delivering projects and improving safety, we want to make every day count,” Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau said. “Our goals are simple but ambitious – to find ways to save time, save money and save lives. PennDOT should be applauded because its use of HFS treatment accomplishes all three.”