In a recent pilot project, delivered for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and Mayo County Council, RPS reported that the use of screw and pin brace systems installed at an angle under the road pavement can provide additional support to Vehicle Restraint Systems (VRS). This compensates for the poor ground or narrow verges, and allow the restraint system to perform as intended.
Delivering innovation and change
At a recent TII one-day national conference for those involved in the design, installation and maintenance of VRS. Padraic Culkin and Rowan O’Callaghan presented papers on some of RPS’ recent work with TII. The event was opened by TII Chief Executive Michael Nolan who stated that improving road safety continues to be a strategic objective for TII. The agenda for the day included international speakers from Sweden, Belgium and Italy.
Rowan presented a paper on a pilot project that RPS is delivering for TII and Mayo County Council which is exploring new and innovative solutions for supporting restraint systems in poor ground conditions and on narrow ramparts. The key finding to date is that screw and pin brace systems installed at an angle under the road pavement can provide additional support to the safety barrier posts and thereby compensate for the poor ground or narrow verges, and allow the restraint system to perform as intended. This pilot project also involved the first dynamic tests carried out on VRS in Ireland which mimics the impact of an errant vehicle.
Rowan further advised: “Designing VRS will always present challenges. The best advice we can give is to consider them as early as possible in the design process, otherwise you may end up compromising road safety for the end users of your scheme. As recognised experts in this area, it is important that projects being designed by RPS benefit from the expertise we have gained over the years”.
Rowan O’Callaghan of RPS presenting to the TII 2018 VRS Conference
Padraic presented a paper on RPS’s role in delivering a step-change in the quality of VRS installations and repairs in Ireland since becoming TII’s leading VRS design consultancy, through constantly developing our industry knowledge, design processes, and oversight regimes.
Key TII Advisors
RPS as key advisors to TII and the only consultancy sitting on the Executive Committee of the Irish Barrier Association are currently involved in a number of high profile VRS related commissions with TII and various Local Authorities including:
VRS Design Consultants for 22 Local Authorities across Ireland on the TII nationwide VRS repair and replacement programme;
Consultants on the development of a new Regionalised VRS Maintenance Regime on the non-MMaRC / non-PPP national road network;
VRS Design Consultants on the N58 Pilot Project;
Advisors to TII on the development of revised national VRS design standards and specifications;
Authors of the new National VRS Maintenance Guidelines;
Trainers as part of the Engineers Ireland Level 8 TII VRS Designers Training Course.
A first for Ireland - dynamic site testing of VRS posts underway on the N58 in Co Mayo
VRS around the world and in Ireland
The use of VRS on our road network to minimise injuries to vehicle occupants is a hot topic throughout Europe and indeed worldwide at the moment. In the US lawsuits have been taken against manufacturers claiming that some guardrail systems may be faulty, while in Europe, significant questions are being asked about how EU standards (e.g. EN1317) are keeping up with changes to vehicle and infrastructure developments. At RPS, through the work our team in Sligo have completed with the support colleagues in Galway, Dublin and Cork, we have become the recognised industry leader in VRS design, and are working closely with TII, Local Authorities and specialist VRS contractors to continue to drive improvements in safety standards.
If your project involves VRS and you need advice, design support or design reviews, please get in touch with Rowan and his Team.