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Truck-mounted attenuators: Preferred wheel direction for optimum safety

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At the most recent ATSSA Instructors’ Meeting in Providence, R.I., a question was asked about the proper orientation of the front wheels of a truck-mounted attenuator (TMA), a key issue for roadway safety.

TMAs are trucks equipped with energy-absorbing attenuators, to provide physical protection for roadway workers from traffic approaching from the rear.

A common myth is that the wheels should be angled to prevent the TMA from being pushed into workers in case of an impact. This is not the preferred method and not what ATSSA teaches.

Instead, the preferred method is to point the wheels straight ahead (not turned left or right) and allow for the TMA’s roll-ahead distance.

FHWA hosting webinar on pavement marking retroreflectivity final rule

Advance registration required for the free Sept. 1 event

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The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is hosting a webinar on “Maintaining Minimum Pavement Marking Retroreflectivity” to discuss the final rule published in the Federal Register on Aug. 5.

The Sept. 1 webinar starts at 12:30 p.m. ET, is free for the public but requires advance registration.

Organizers said the final rule published on Aug. 5 amends the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), adding provisions for minimum maintained levels of pavement marking retroreflectivity in Revision 3 of the 2009 MUTCD.

Final rule for pavement marking retroreflectivity published

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The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) posted the final rule regarding pavement marking retroreflectivity in today’s Federal Register.

The posting states: “The purpose of this final rule is to update the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) to provide standards, guidance, options, and supporting information relating to maintaining minimum levels of retroreflectivity for pavement markings. The MUTCD is incorporated in FHWA regulations and recognized as the national standard for traffic control devices used on all streets, highways, bikeways, and private roads open to public travel.”

The rule notes that it is effective on Sept. 6.

ATSSA reacts to USDOT release of National Roadway Safety Strategy

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The National Roadway Safety Strategy (NRSS) unveiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) on Thursday focuses on moving the U.S. towards zero roadway deaths by taking a safe systems approach that includes six central themes.

The themes laid out are that: deaths and serious injuries are unacceptable; human mistakes are inevitable; humans are vulnerable to injury and death; there is a shared responsibility for these incidents; safety can be and should be proactive; and redundancy is critical. The strategy introduced by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg also focuses on five safety issues.

“ATSSA applauds Secretary Buttigieg on the release of the first National Roadway Safety Strategy, especially with its call for the enhanced protection of roadway construction workers," ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner said. "Shining a brighter spotlight on the need to dramatically reduce roadway fatalities is critically necessary.”

House passes surface transportation reauthorization

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The House of Representatives passed the INVEST in America Act earlier today by a margin of 221-201. The legislation passed on a mostly party line vote, with two Republicans—Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Rep Chris Smith (R-NJ)—voting in support of the legislation.

The five-year, $715 billion package includes $343 billion for roads, bridges and safety, with $15.9 billion of that dedicated to the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP).

With this legislation passing the full House, attention now turns to the Senate where, earlier this year, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee passed its version of this bill, known as the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act (STRA) of 2021. 

House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee passes surface transportation authorization proposal

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Early this morning, the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee passed a five-year, $548 billion surface transportation authorization proposal out of committee, mostly on a party-line vote.

Two Republican members of the committee, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón (R-Puerto Rico), crossed over and voted with the Democrats. The legislation, named the INVEST in America Act, passed out of the committee after a marathon session that began Wednesday morning and finished around 5 a.m. today. Both Democrats and Republicans offered hundreds of amendments during the process.

This proposal includes funding titles for highways – including roadway safety infrastructure, bridges, transit and passenger and freight rail. By and large, the legislation and the process were derided as partisan by Republican committee members.

Senate EPW Committee passes safety-focused highway bill

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The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee today unanimously passed the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021 (STRA), its proposal to reauthorize the expiring highway program.

The proposed legislation, which was crafted in a bipartisan manner, funds surface transportation programs at $304 billion over five years, which is a 34% increase over current funding levels. This funding includes historic funding levels for the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), $16.8 billion over the five-year period, which is a nearly $2 billion increase over current funding levels.

ATSSA worked hard to ensure that funding levels for HSIP were as high as possible and then continued to work to insert additional safety provisions and funding in other programs throughout the legislation. Now our team will work to ensure these advocacy successes remain in the package as it winds its way through Congress this summer.

ATSSA submits 120 comments for feedback to proposed MUTCD

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ATSSA today submitted 120 comments to the Federal Register on the Proposed Rule for the National Standards for the Traffic Control Devices: Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) for Streets and Highways revision. 

The 23 pages of comments were compiled over the past few months and are the product of input received from ATSSA’s technical committees, MUTCD Chat Lounges during February’s Annual Convention & Traffic Expo, National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Device (NCUTCD) committee meetings and other conferences attended by ATSSA. The input was produced after sorting through nearly 2,000 comments to the 700-page MUTCD. 

“A huge thank you goes out to our members for leading the charge as this was a herculean effort,” ATSSA Director of Innovation & Technical Services Eric Perry said.

FHWA’s Pollack expresses support for roadway safety at ATSSA Legislative Briefing & Fly-In

ATSSA members gathering online this week for annual advocacy event

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Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Acting Administrator Stephanie Pollack joined ATSSA members today for day one of the Association’s two-day Legislative Briefing & Fly-In being held online this week.

Pollack stressed the importance of roadway safety and referenced next week’s National Work Zone Awareness Week as she engaged in a conversation with ATSSA Vice President of Engagement Nate Smith and responded to member questions.

More than 100 ATSSA members registered for the Legislative Briefing & Fly-In, which is organized by ATSSA’s Government Relations Team and is a member benefit. Members are scheduled to take part in more than 60 meetings with members of Congress and legislative staffers on Thursday.

FHWA adds Thursday webinar on MUTCD Notice of Proposed Amendments

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The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has scheduled an additional webinar on the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD) Notice of Proposed Amendments (NPA) for Thursday.

This final webinar starts at 2 p.m. EDT. Registration is now open for the session, which will provide an overview of the MUTCD process and highlights of some proposed changes. FHWA indicated local jurisdictions will be especially interested in this webinar. 

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