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The median of excellence: Ingal Civil

Ingal Civil

Ingal Civil has always been a keen supporter of highway safety barrier systems. The company’s distribution of the TREND Median terminal is re-enforcing this vision. Roads & Infrastructure speaks with Product Manager Luke Gallagher to learn more.

Central barriers and narrow medians have long been a preferred tool in increasing the safety and reducing the likelihood of road trauma on Australian roads.

As stated in VicRoads’ 2018 Road Design Note, central barriers are “presently one of the most effective treatments for reducing the likelihood and severity of head-on crashes and align towards providing safe systems for road users”.

A study into the barriers has revealed that they can provide an 87 per cent reduction in fatal median related incidents, including head on crashes, over a six-year data collection period before and after installation (‘Digesting the safety effectiveness of cable barrier systems by numbers’ – D. Chimba, E. Ruhazwe, S. Allen, J. Waters).

Ingal Civil is a pioneer in the manufacture and distribution of highway safety barrier systems, making meaningful impacts on the safety of regional and metropolitan roads nationwide.

This also includes investment into the development and research of new products which aim to increase the safety of road connections for motorists.

The Austroads Safety Barrier Assessment Panel has recently recommended for acceptance the TREND Median terminal, a new and improved addition to Ingal Civil’s central barrier product line-up.

According to Ingal Civil Product Manager Luke Gallagher, the TREND Median guardrail terminal is helping to modernise the catalogue of available road safety systems on the market.

“Wire Rope Safety Barriers have long been a preferred barrier type in medians, due to their costs and installation time,” he says.

The TREND Median guardrail terminal has a comparatively easier installing process when compared to other road safety barriers in the market.
The TREND Median guardrail terminal has a comparatively easier installing process when compared to other road safety barriers in the market.

“They’re great for expressways or roads that have long runs and plenty of room for deflection and no tight curves. But now the focus is moving to barriers closer to urban and built-up areas, where speeds are reduced and the horizontal curvature is reduced.”

As a result, manufacturers have had to make adjustments to increase the adaptability and flexibility of road safety barriers for varying installation environments.

The TREND Median guardrail terminal is a double sided, gating re-directive and impact absorbing end terminal. This terminal is used with longitudinal road safety barriers and can be applied to a number of applications, such as roadside shoulders, as well as unidirectional and bidirectional traffic.

Trialled and tested according to Test Level three of the MASH (Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware) testing regulations, the TREND Median guardrail terminal can absorb the kinetic energy of a vehicle, bringing it to a controlled stop from 100km/h.

This is thanks to the barrier’s unique slotted rail and shaper-fin design. This concept allows a cutter-bolt to sheer through the barrier slots, with the shaper-fin deforming the rail upon impact.


 

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Benefits over other barriers

The TREND Median terminal offers a variety of benefits over other road safety barrier options currently available in the market, as Gallagher explains.

“Concrete barriers can be five or six times more expensive than a median guardrail barrier,” he says. “So they’re cost prohibitive most of the time.”

When compared to conventional wire rope safety barriers, the TREND Median terminal can hold its own.

“With wire rope, a single impact can cause a lot of damage to the barrier. With a back-to-back guardrail, even if you clip or scratch the barrier with your car, it typically doesn’t need immediate maintenance to repair its integrity,” Gallagher says.

“Most wire rope barriers can also require concrete footings and anchor blocks as part of the installation. The TREND Median terminal can be fully commissioned and installed in just one day, with the installer driving the posts into the ground, instead of waiting for concrete to set.”

The VicRoads’ 2018 Road Design Note also states that back-to-back road barriers can sustain secondary hits, whereas wire road barriers can be disabled after a significant incident. An important consideration for regional roads, where the response time for maintenance may be delayed.

“Having space for deflection as well as a lower life cycle cost are big differentiators,” Gallagher says. “Some wire rope barriers might be cheaper to install, but more expensive to maintain in the long run.”

Back to back guardrail systems also provide significant drainage when compared to other road safety systems, such as concrete barriers which can have an effect on the surface flow of metropolitan and regional roads.

Inside the installation 

Safety Barriers WA is one company who has already installed the Median Ezy-Guard barrier as part of it services.

Patrick Glackin, Project Manager, says the installation of the median guardrail is comparably easier than other systems on the market.

A back-to-back guardrail is designed to protect motorists from lane departures across the median into oncoming traffic.
A back-to-back guardrail is designed to protect motorists from lane departures across the median into oncoming traffic.

“The installation process for MASH systems such as Ezy-Guard is in general is much more efficient than standard conventional systems. Due to the reduced length and smaller footprint, the posts seem to penetrate through the ground much faster than their conventional counterparts,” Glackin says.

“The slider block system used in Ezy-Guard is also much faster to attach to the post and secure the rail than that of the old plastic block method, especially when the task is doubled on median systems.”

Glackin has received additional positive feedback from other installers, who say the process helps to save both time and money. 

“Our installers commented on the ease of which they can layout materials in preparation for installation. They noted a significant weight difference in the post and slider assemblies and how much more materials they could carry from the laydown area to the worksite,” Glackin says.

Etienne Fourie, Senior Associate at BG&E says the TREND Median guardrail terminal’s simplicity for installation, as well as the support of Ingal Civil were major benefits.

“We selected the ezy-guard median barrier based on its ease of construction and a suitable barrier within a median based on location, available verge width and space for deflection. We also selected it because we were able to install the barrier only on one carriageway saving installation time and material,” Fourie says.

“I personally liked the simplicity of the system and installation seemed fairly easy and quick. I also appreciated the support we received form James and the team.”

The Ezy-Guard 4 Median system, which is available now, has already been deployed at sites in Western Australia, with expectations that the product will have a wider rollout across Australia.

This article was originally published in the May edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.

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