Innovative and low cost safety works, including median wire rope safety barriers and narrow centrelines
In November 2010 Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), with the NSW Centre for Road Safety started a road safety and speed zone review for the Pacific Highway from north of Nambucca Heads and the southern entrance of Urunga. This review was in response to a number of crashes on the highway in this area. The project team wanted to find out if there were low cost safety works that could be implemented to improve the highway before construction of the dual carriageway upgrade, through this area. In determining appropriate remedial actions the project team was mindful that the section was to be bypassed in the future by the Warrell Creek to Urunga upgrade project. Notwithstanding this, the team looked to implement 40 short term safety measures to reduce the incidence and severity of crashes on the existing highway. One of the treatments recommended was the installation median wire rope safety barrier (WRSB) to separate the opposing flows of traffic. With some already existing wide painted medians ranging from 0.8m to 1.8m in width, the decision was taken to trial the installation of WRSB into the existing narrow medians without undertaking any further widening. This was done to reduce installation costs yet still provide the physical separation between opposing flows of traffic. Austroads currently specifies a minimum median width of 1.6m whilst RMS design documentation is even more conservative with a width of 2.0m. This paper outlines the review process and summarises the works undertaken under the safe systems approach.