Temporary Asphalt Medians for Two-lane, Two-way Operation

Report No: 89-R24

Published in 1989

About the report:

A typical temporary asphalt median for two-lane, two-way operation is 12 to 18 in wide, 4 in high, is painted with yellow reflectorized paint, and has orange tubular markers with reflectorized white collars mounted at a spacing of about 50 ft. This highly visible median is a cost-effective alternative to portable concrete. median barriers which separate opposing traffic streams during reconstruction. The objectives of this research were to evaluate the performance of temporary asphalt medians for use in two-lane, two-way operations as an alternative to portable concrete barriers and, if appropriate, to develop guidelines for the use of temporary asphalt medians. Use of the temporary asphalt median was evaluated at one site. The median was installed and removed at least twice as fast as concrete barriers, thereby reducing the time traffic is exposed to such activities by at least 50 percent. There was no difference in the cost per linear foot of the median and concrete barrier because of a relatively high contract cost for the median compared to median costs in other states. However, use of the median will save a minimum of $40,000 ($80,000 on this project) by eliminating the use if impact attenuators at the concrete barrier end sections. It is expected that the costs will decrease as more medians are used. In fact, the cost per linear foot of the median was 40 percent lower on the second project in Virginia using the median. There is no evidence to suggest that the temporary asphalt median directly contributed to any accidents. However, it does appear that the presence of an intersection within two-lane, two-way operation may have been a factor in some accidents. The median performed well. Guidelines were developed for the use of the median.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.

Last updated: December 28, 2023

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