Two divisions of the Austrian traffic technology supplier Swarco have been involved in successful road safety improvement projects Germany and Wales in the UK.
The company’s UK division, Swarco Traffic Ltd has installed an intelligent flood warning system to divert drivers away from a busy, low-lying section of a road in Powys that is affected by flooding. The A44 trunk road to the east of Aberystwyth is prone to flooding several times a year, both as a result of adverse weather conditions and its close proximity to the Afon Rheidol river. Working closely with Ymgynghoriaeth Gwynedd Consultancy (YGC), Gwynedd Council’s engineering consultancy and in conjunction with both the Welsh Government (client) and the North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agent (NMWTRA), Swarco has designed, supplied and installed a set of four warning signs on the approach roads advising drivers of the flooded road ahead and subsequent diversion route.
The solution is based around Swarco’s bespoke hazard warning signs and an intelligent flood sensor that sends warning messages directly to NMWTRA’s traffic monitoring center in Conwy, informing them when the system has activated and warn the appropriate teams as soon as water levels have risen above a normal height.
“The previous ‘bad weather’ procedure of regular inspections and then manually erecting warning signs was far too time consuming. Automated warning signage provides an immediate response to a flood situation,” explained John Lister, senior project engineer for YGC. “From a NMWTRA perspective, engineers can allocate their time more effectively. They can concentrate on other areas, knowing the automated system will activate as soon as there is a flood situation. Once informed, they can inspect and then erect the appropriate traffic management more efficiently.”
Derek Williamson, head of sales at Swarco Traffic, said, “Our range of hazard solutions are helping protect drivers in adverse conditions such as high winds and ice, and we have used our proven expertise to design this bespoke system for flood warning environments.”
In Germany, Swarco’s Road Marking Systems division used a specially developed vibrating ‘rumble’ strip to improve road safety at several accident black spots on the Sudelfeld route in Bavaria. The cold plastic strips, which are solvent-free and consists of two components, were applied at several locations on the Sudelfeld route times as a yellow and white rising line marking across the roadway. The resulting vibration effect increases attention and causes road users to slow down, with the number of accidents substantially decreasing since their installation.
Deployed three years ago, the markings have just been renewed by maintenance company Pfnür Verkehrstechnik, with the vibratory strips surviving extreme weather conditions, such as ice, snow and heat at an altitude of more than 3,600 feet (1,100m) above sea level. As well as helping to reduce the number of accidents on the route, the marking system has also proved to be extremely hard-wearing and resistant to the intensive loads of snow clearing equipment for three harsh winters.
Andreas Nagel, product and sales consultant at Swarco Road Marking Systems, commented, “The vibrating strips did not in any way interfere with winter service with snowplows and also survived them surprisingly undamaged.”