Top Benefits of an Armco Guardrail System for Road Safety
The Armco guardrail system is widely used across the world on highways, national and rural roads, as well as urban roads. It plays an integral role in reducing the effects of vehicle collisions and improves road safety in many ways.
This article discusses the benefits and features of the Armco guardrail to provide insight as to why it is one of the preferred road barriers across the globe.
Benefits of an Armco Guardrail System for the Road Construction and Maintenance Provider
Apart from having to ensure the product used for road safety improvement can perform as is intended, transport and road departments, as well as engineering companies have to consider the economical and application benefits, such as:
The cost of road safety products is high. To ensure a product can be used across the country, yet be inexpensive enough to justify usage, it must be durable, reliable, easy to maintain, and competitively priced. Engineers must compare the different types of barriers, also in relation to price and cost of ownership over the entire lifespan of the product. The W-beam guardrail ticks all the right boxes, making it suitable for installation in parking garages, on urban roads to protect pedestrians from straying vehicles, and on long stretches of road.
Every minute that roadside work happens, motorists and workers are in danger. It is imperative to choose a road safety barrier that’s relatively quick to install, as well as repair. Although the W-beam guardrail installation requires the planting of timber poles or fixing to the surface of steel poles as well, it is relatively fast to install when compared to the building of a wall.
The Armco guardrail has pre-manufactured steel panels, reflectors, bolts, and posts. This makes installation faster as the pieces are standardised, and proper installation guidelines are provided. No complex design or drawings apply and there is no waiting period after installation before it is ready to perform its functions.
Versatility for a Wider Range of Applications
The steel beams can be curved for application on sharp curves. The height can be adjusted according to the ground clearance of the vehicles that use the particular stretch of road. Higher posts can be installed for barriers on high-speed roads. The steel is available as galvanised or non-galvanised. The reflectors are available in D or V shapes. Steel or wooden posts can be used. The modular design and options in materials make the Armco guardrail system exceptionally versatile.
Although specifically made for quick installation on roads, it can be used in warehouses, residential estates, schools, parking garages, and walkways. Double-sided types are used for installation on the median of highways where protection is essential from both sides. The length of application is not limited as you can add as many steel panels to increase the length of application as required.
The versatility of the system, modular design, and pre-made parts make it perfect for a wide range of applications. It can also be custom installed to fit a particular application and environment.
Low Maintenance Costs
Due to the durability of the steel and posts, the cost of maintenance is low. If a section is damaged, only that section needs to be replaced. Minor collisions don’t cause the system to lose its integrity. With low cost on maintenance, it is a cost-effective solution to improve road safety.
Road Safety Benefits to Consider
Apart from the benefits in terms of cost savings related to labour time for installation, the durability of the Armco guardrail system, and the versatility because of its features, the barrier holds several benefits for road safety improvement, which include:
Reduces the Severity of the Collision Impact on Vehicle Occupants
The barrier design makes it possible to reduce the impact severity of a collision on the vehicle’s occupants. It is made from quality steel, available as galvanised steel or for protective paint coatings. The steel is strong and durable, and able to withstand considerable impact force.
Because the entire system works together to take the collision impact and distribute the kinetic energy across the length of the steel beams, it removes a considerable impact load from the vehicle. If the vehicle had to collide with a rigid object like a tree or wall, it would take the entire impact force. This would transfer to the vehicle’s occupants, which could lead to severe injuries or death. Instead of the impact force being taken by the vehicle and its occupants, the Armco guardrail system does.
Improves Driver Confidence at Night
Motorists often neglect to keep as far left to remain safe, especially at night when the left edge of the road is not easily visible. This leads to median clustering where motorists keep just left of the median line. The practice puts the opposite flowing traffic at risk as even the slightest connection with a fast-travelling vehicle from the opposite direction can cause a huge accident. With a sturdy and visible barrier on the left edge of the road, drivers have more confidence to keep to the left, thereby reducing the risk of head-on collisions due to median clustering.
Prevents Unsafe U-turns on Highways
The guardrail system installed on the grass island between two opposite flowing highways acts as an effective barrier to prevent motorists from crossing into the opposite flowing highway’s fast lane.
Prevents Accidents from One Highway Spilling Over to Another
The barrier helps to keep accidents contained in lanes, preventing incident escalation, and an increase in damage or injury severity.
Prevents Vehicles from Hitting Unforgiving Objects
Trees, rock faces, streetlights, and walls are unforgiving objects. These objects don’t absorb any part of the impact energy, leaving the colliding vehicle and its occupants to take the force. The result is maximum damage. With a guardrail in place, the system takes part of the impact force and distributes it along the system, thereby reducing the force of impact on the vehicle and its occupants. This can lower the fatality risk.
Helps to Protect Pedestrians and Cyclists Against Straying Vehicles
Motorists often ignore speed limits and rules regarding where they can drive. With an Armco guardrail system in place, vehicles are prevented from accessing pedestrian or cycle-only areas. Where a vehicle strays from the driving path due to high speed or reckless driving, it collides with the barrier instead of hitting pedestrians and cyclists. In this way, the barrier significantly improves the safety of pedestrian or cyclist-allocated areas.
Helps to Prevent Vehicles Colliding with Weight Bearing Pillars
A vehicle travelling at high speed, and which hits a bridge pillar can cause enough damage to compromise the integrity of the pillar. This has the potential of causing a partial bridge collapse. This can also be the case for a parking garage situated on the off- and on-ramps leading to different parking storeys. With a barrier in place to protect such areas, the damage to the vehicle is reduced upon collision with the barrier, while the structural integrity of the building is protected.
Prevents Vehicles from Moving Into Dangerous Areas
Water sources, cliffs and steep slopes are hazardous for vehicles. If such dangers are not far enough from the road to allow for a safe return to the travel path after straying or losing control, then it is imperative to protect against such hazards. The Armco guardrail system is effective, also on curves to help keep vehicles in a safe travel path.
Features and Components of the Armco Guardrail System
The road safety guardrail systems consist of W-beams, steel or timber posts, and reflectors. End terminals protect against penetration of a vehicle when the end is hit from the front. The W-beams are constructed to meet SANS 1350 requirements. The hot dip steel is galvanised to meet the requirements of SANS 121 /ISO 1461 for optimal corrosion protection, giving them durability, even in harsh environmental conditions. The beams come in standard lengths of 3,81 and 4 metres, although special lengths can be requested.
The end terminals are available in the standard end-wing and bull-nose designs, while the reflectors for maximum visibility come in D and V shapes. These are easy to install with their slotted base systems.
The posts are driven into the surface or attached with steel bolts. The beams attach to the posts. In the case of a severe collision, the posts give way, helping to take the force of impact. The timber posts come with dome or bevel finishes and meet the requirements of SANS 457. The posts are creosoted for longevity.
The Armco guardrail system has many benefits, applications and functions. It plays an integral part in road safety. Reach out for more information and a quote to meet your requirements.
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