M25 Emergency Areas
Part of Highways England Smart Motorways
Highways England smart motorways use technology, controlled from a regional traffic control centre, to actively manage the flow of traffic. The control centres monitor traffic and can activate and change signs, speed limits and even block lanes to keep the traffic flowing freely. Smart motorways also increase the capacity of the road by either temporarily or permanently opening the hard shoulder to traffic. With no hard shoulder available Highways England have been installing ‘Emergency Areas’ (EA) – also called places of relative safety (PRS). Hitex International Group have been at the forefront of these installations by producing an innovative, long lasting system that meets all of the rigorous Highways England requirements.
A True One Stop Solution
Part of Hitex International Group, L&R Roadlines have been installing Emergency Area bays for Highways England on the M25. L&R have been installing Hitex Traffic Safety products PumaGrip Type 1, a BBA certificated high friction surface, as a base layer and PumaCoat as a UV stable, durable top coat. The Emergency Area bays were even installed using Somerford made vehicles and equipment. A true one stop solution by the Hitex International Group members.
Firstly the Emergency Area Bays were installed with anti-skid surfacing technology that is proven to reduce accidents and save lives. BBA/HAPAS approved PumaGrip Type 1 high friction surfacing is designed to reduce braking distances and improve vehicle safety. In such safety critical locations, being able to stop a vehicle in the shortest possible distance is vital. Due to the time constraints in place to complete work on bays at quieter periods overnight, PumaGrip was the ideal solution due to the rapid catalyst controlled curing time.
PumaGrip is a cold applied MMA system that comprises of an MMA binder and road grade bauxite. PumaGrip is very durable, even in the highest stress locations, exhibiting the highest possible levels of resistance to erosion. Firstly, the resin binder is mixed with the catalyst and then it is spread onto the Emergency Area surface. The resin is then evenly covered to excess with bauxite. The surface cures in less then one hour and then any excess bauxite is swept away.
Product Development and Finishing
The redesigned emergency area provides a long lasting, highly visible, orange coloured road surface and also has clearer signage to help improve visibility making the bay more obvious to drivers on smart motorways. It was this highly visible surface colour, specified by Highways England, that was the first obstacle for the Hitex Traffic Safety development team. PumaCoat is available to customers in various colours but the specific bright orange for the Emergency Area Bays needed to be matched and tested for UV stability. Using proven pigment technology, the colour was matched to perfection at the first time of asking. The rapid to install Hitex International Group system is now a key part of the smart motorways Emergency Area process.
For more information about smart motorways and how to use them: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-drive-on-a-smart-motorway