Ingal Civil Products’ ongoing development and investment into its Ezy-Guard guardrail systems has produced a number of high-end safety systems, including its Ezy-Guard 4, released last year.
This past May, the latest iteration in the Ezy-Guard range – the Ezy-Guard High Containment barrier – was installed for Logan City Council to help contain heavy vehicles on a dangerous corner of Wuraga Road.
Ingal Civil Products’ Ezy-Guard High Containment Barrier is the first thrie-beam barrier in Australia compliant with MASH Test Level 4. Luke Gallagher, Product Manager at Ingal Civil Products, says is a significant step up in containment compared with the previous iteration of its steel guardrail barrier – the Ezy-Guard Smart 4, which is the first W-beam system in Australia to be crash tested and approved to MASH TL3 and NCHRP-350 TL4.
“The Ezy-Guard Smart was a big increase in containment over the old public domain systems, but not as high as MASH TL4, so we started to design a system to that level as soon as we could,” explains Mr. Gallagher.
The result is the Ezy-Guard High Containment, which is the first thrie-beam barrier product with Federal Highways Administration (USA) and Australian/New Zealand approval to offer MASH TL4 containment. “From MASH test level 3 to 4 is approximately 60 per cent increase in impact energy, so it’s a much bigger truck going much faster,” he says. “All those high centre of gravity vehicles – courier vans, large SUVs and other rigid trucks – can be effectively contained if they were to crash into the barrier. “This is a definite win for the road authorities that have a lot of roads that a lot of heavy vehicles on their roads that need that test level 4 approval on their barriers.”
While the introduction of the Ezy-Guard High Containment is a major milestone for the company and a first for Australia in crash barrier systems, it is not the only new development to come out of the Ingal Civil Products’ product development department.
It has introduced different components to its Ezy-Guard Smart barriers to help increase protection on rural roads, particularly for motorcyclists.
Mr. Gallagher says traditional guardrails put the system’s posts above the actual W-beam rails, which is more convenient for maintenance, but a hazard for motorcyclists. “When motorcyclists crashes into a barrier, roughly half will hit the bottom of the barrier and the other half over top,” he says.
The problem with both outcomes is that the driver is particularly vulnerable, given that they can slide under the guardrail and impact the posts or go over and suffer lacerations on the protruding posts.
“Some drivers crash into barriers and suffer more from blood loss from snagging rather than trauma induced from crashing into something. We realised that the post didn’t need to ride above the rail so we’ve designed the barrier with the rail protecting from the top of the post.”
Likewise, Ingal Civil Products has introduced its Motorcyclist Protection Rail (MPR) – an under run barrier to protect a motorcyclist if they collide with the post. “The posts are a significant rigid hazard for motorcyclists, the MPR acts like a safety barrier on the ground to protect them from impacting the post should they crash.”
Mr. Gallagher says the Ezy-Guard 4 is a barrier set up designed for rural networks, especially with its ability to go around corners. “The post carriage offers the contractor great flexibility in installation where tight curves can be challenging. The narrow width of just 200 millimetres saves valuable formation width. It’s ideal for any road requiring run-off-road protection, and it provides some real advantages because of its narrow footprint and safe, quick installation.”
Because it doesn’t have curvature limits, it can be used in lieu of traditional wire rope barriers, which Mr. Gallagher says have limitations on their horizontal curvature. “Most wire rope barriers have a convex curve limit of 200 metres. In these locations, Ezy-Guard offers a great substitute as it offers the same containment level and footprint, without the curvature limitations.”
Another component the company has added to its Ezy-Guard guardrails is its Ezy-Lift carriage. “If you install a barrier and a few years down the track need to do a pavement overlay or reseal, typically you need to uninstall the whole system then reinstall it,” explains Mr. Gallagher. He says the height of the barrier is what’s important, as it needs to be compliant, but will be affected when pavement works are undertaken.
The Ezy-Lift allows for the rail to be lifted back to a compliant height in increments of 50, 100, 150 and 180 millimetres after the road has been overlaid. An old Ezy-Guard install can be unbolted and the carriage replaced with the Ezy-lift, and the same W-beam is reinstalled at the same height.
“With other systems, you have to remove and reinstall the whole barrier to get the new height, which is a big cost for labour and materials,” says Mr. Gallagher.
With the various developments in its Ezy-Guard Smart family of products, Ingal Civil Products is providing a complete suite of barrier products, which Mr. Gallagher says is always in a state of progression and development. “We’ve invested a fair amount of time and money on product development and engaging with the industry on road safety to figure out how we can improve our products and where we see an opportunity to innovate that can really help reduce road death and trauma.”