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Types of Traffic Control Devices

What Are Channelizing/Delineation (Traffic Control) Devices?

In every construction environment, the goal is to get the work done properly with as few risks as possible. Channelizing and delineation devices help to make that possible. These are traffic control devices that include signs, signals, and other tools that help direct, warn, or regulate the movement of traffic through that area.

How Traffic Control Devices Are Selected

Every situation warrants careful examination to create a plan for the movement of traffic, typically with several specific goals in mind:

  • It must be safe. The ultimate goal is to keep workers, drivers, and emergency responders safe during the process.
  • It must ensure ample mobility. Minimizing congestion and ensuring the most effective movement process decreases the negative     impact on the community, such as long waits.
  • It must facilitate the work that needs to be done. The job must be completed on time and meet all expectations of costs and quality.

Ensuring efficiency and safety throughout work zones is critical, but there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Rather, it is typically necessary to use numerous traffic control devices to create a cohesive, effective plan.

Types of Traffic Control Devices

Selection of the most appropriate channelizing or delineation devices is critical to ensure proper movement of traffic through regions. Understanding all options of these traffic control devices can help to facilitate that process. Some of those options are below:

Commonly used because they are easily recognized and moved, traffic control drums are often bright orange and white. Various styles and shapes exist, but most are substantial enough to be easy to see. These devices move traffic through work zones with clarity because of their size. Drivers are less likely to strike them, therefore keeping workers safe.

Tubular Markers
Typically beneficial for very specific channelizing of traffic, these are narrow, more flexible markers positioned closer to each other to direct traffic. When struck by a car, they will return to their original position without the need for a vertical lift.

Vertical Panels
Another temporary traffic control device is a vertical panel designed with polyethylene plastic to ensure it is durable. These tend to have a molded rubber base, much like drums and tubular markers, but are larger than tubular markers and thinner than drums. They work well to direct motorists or block pedestrians from various areas.

Traffic control cones are quite common and tend to be one of the least expensive options. These are typically easy to pick up and move, making them a good option for short-term use (hours rather than days, for example). Cones are easily recognizable by motorists and pedestrians but provide less of a visual impact. Because they are smaller, they can also be used to designate no-go zones, such as potholes or areas to drive around.
Type I Barricade
Type I barricades encompass a single reflective panel or may utilize a single horizontal rail. Once in place, motorists recognize that this area is a construction zone or an area where they cannot drive. A type I barricade is easy to set up and remove when needed and a conventional way of blocking off large sections or even full roadways.

Type II Barricade
A type II barricade is much the same as a type I barricade but has two reflective panels or rails instead of one. With two rails, it tends to make more of a visual impact, and it works well in low-light conditions. These are often used in higher-risk areas or on freeways without overhead lights.
Type II baricades can also be used on expressways and high-speed roadways simply because they are more visible, which makes them easier to see from a distance when traveling at a high rate of speed.
Traffic Safety - Traffic Cones
Type III Barricade
A type III barricade is more impactful. Featuring three reflective panels or horizontal rails, they are a stronger statement about not driving through the area. Best used as a way to block off roadway access or to signal detours, they are large enough to fill most of a single lane, ensuring limited passage around them by drivers.

Directional Indicator Barricades
A direction indicator barricade is some type of device that helps to provide specific information to drivers about where to drive and where not to drive. These may be used in tapers and transitions to allow drivers to merge together slowly or to navigate from one side of the street to another. They can also be used in a series to direct drivers to another lane for exit ramps. They may feature an arrow or simply be set up to guide users to the proper movement through the area.

Signs and Stands
Signs and stands are a common component of any type of work zone. Communication is key to helping drivers avoid mistakes that can be life-threatening. With a wide range of signs and stands, it is possible to create a very clear, specific set of directions for drivers, minimizing risks to zone workers.

Signs, including roll-up signs, tend to be easy to set up and maintain over the course of the project. These can be placed at the start of the work day and quickly taken down when the work is complete. They are lighter in weight and easier to move from one area to the next.

Stands can include warning statements, closed statements, and safety warnings, such as “work area ahead” or “reduced speed ahead.” They may be put up quickly after an accident or an emergency repair and taken down without much time invested in the process.

Stop and Slow Paddles
In some situations, the fluidity of the work zone requires the use of people to direct traffic. In these situations, clearly worded and easy-to-see signs, or paddles, are a necessary component. These paddles are clearly marked with “stop” or “slow” to allow the construction worker to control the movement of traffic, such as through a single-lane road.

Finding the Best Traffic Control Device for Any Work Zone Is Critical

Channelizing and delineation options exist to support the unique needs of every work zone. Integral to this process is ensuring that drivers fully understand, even as they are distracted or tired, the proper movement through a work zone. The life of workers depends on that.

With the right solutions in place, it is possible for construction zones to remain safe and easy to navigate, ensuring the community impact is as low as possible while the workers remain free from the risk of an errant driver misunderstanding their route.

Why White Cap?

White Cap can help determine the best solutions for even the most complex work environments. With an average of 12 years of industry experience, our team can offer tailored solutions and professional advice on the jobsite or in your office. Visit us online or at one of our 360+ U.S. stores. Our experts are ready to discuss your traffic control device needs.
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