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Task Force 13 works to promote roadway safety

ATSSA participated in the Task Force 13 (TF13) 2018 Fall Meeting, where one key initiative—to form a nonprofit entity to conduct business and interact with other roadway safety organizations—was addressed.

Task Force 13 is a group that develops, advises on, and promotes standards and specifications for bridge and roadway safety infrastructure on our nation’s roadways.

TF13 was previously a joint AASHTO-AGC-ARTBA Subcommittee on New Highway Materials and Technologies. This subcommittee was charged with developing guide specifications for new materials and technologies identified for use in highway construction projects. Today, the AASHTO Roadside Design Guide includes references to the TF13 Hardware Guides. In order to accommodate AASHTO, this volunteer group continues to meet on a semiannually basis and decided to officially create its own entity. This group concentrates on maintaining the guides so that practitioners can stay up to date on the latest roadside safety hardware that is available.

TF13 members are in the process of forming this group and have received a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) from AASHTO, which addresses the relationship between the two entities.

“Task Force 13 meetings allow the group’s members to work diligently to ensure roadway safety is prioritized with bridge and roadway hardware by developing, recommending, and promoting standards that guarantee optimal function, aesthetics, and economy,” said ATSSA Senior Technical Advisor Eric Perry, who added TF13’s mission is accomplished through a series of eight active subcommittees, two of which Perry chairs.

Perry said the Barrier Hardware subcommittee’s focus is on maintaining the “Task Force 13 A Guide to Standardized Highway Barrier Hardware.” The TF13 subcommittees include publications maintenance, barrier hardware, bridge railing and transition hardwar, sign, luminaire, and traffic signal support hardware, work zone hardware, certification of test facilities, marketing, and delineation.

Additionally, Perry said much of the overall discussion focused on implementation sunset dates provided in the 2016 AASHTO Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH), which provides adopted crash-testing procedures for use in assessing roadside safety hardware. Questions remain on how each state is going to implement MASH as the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) role has shifted and AASHTO’s role is only in the development of the criteria, and not implementation.

A website was also developed to house the various TF13 guides, which are a repository of all products used on the roadside and is intended to list the key characteristics and attributes of roadside safety products broken down into various categories (bridge railings, crash cushions, end treatment or terminals, guardrail or median barriers, luminaire supports, sign supports, transition systems, work zone systems, and components). The searchable guides provide more information about roadside products, including but not limited to key attributes, drawings, pictures, and other product materials.

Since the last TF13 meeting in the spring, about 20 new systems have been added to the guide and each of these systems received FHWA Letters. Each subcommittee will continue to work to add new systems to the guide as they are received in the future. These reviews are facilitated by the co-chairs of the subcommittee and submitted for peer review before being accepted into the guide.

The next TF13 meeting will be held April 17-19, 2019 in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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