A new requirement for highway safety hardware takes effect later this year, and it has the potential to impact precast concrete manufacturers across the country.
The regulation impacts all temporary precast concrete barrier designs manufactured on or after Dec. 31, 2019.
In January 2016, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued a joint agreement with the American Association of State Transportation Officials (AASHTO) outlining a new requirement for highway safety hardware, which includes permanent and temporary roadside barriers; longitudinal barriers, including those used on precast box culverts and 3-sided structures; and bridge rails.
These products, if manufactured on or after Dec. 31, must be successfully tested to the 2016 edition of Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH). Devices manufactured before this date, and successfully tested to National Cooperative Highway Research Project Report 350 or the 2009 edition of MASH, may continue to be used throughout their normal service lives.
If you manufacture barrier for your state’s department of transportation, the time is now to speak with them about their strategy and policy to comply with these timelines. This is particularly true if your transportation agency has a state-specific geometry standard other than nationally recognized shapes such as the Jersey or F-shape barrier. Those more common standardized shapes may have already been tested and approve in accordance to the new MASH criteria by your DOT or another agency.
A memo from the FHWA dated April 4, 2018, provided some additional guidance to assist DOTs in determining the crashworthiness of the barriers used within their jurisdictions.
You can contact Eric Carleton, P.E., director of codes and standards, with questions or more information.