CASE STUDY (Zoneguard®): Successful Positive Protection Deployment On CALTRANS Memorial Bridge Project
Since 1921, almost 200 California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) employees have been killed in the line of duty. One of the biggest hazards is from motorists who do not exercise caution while driving where highway workers are present. Each spring on statewide Workers Memorial Day, CalTrans honors these employees during a memorial tribute at the State Capitol. Along with several other initiatives, CalTrans took it a step further and dedicated the bridge on I-80 that looks over the Sacramento River as the CalTrans Worker Memorial Bridge. This bridge is significant because it represents work zone safety for the state and acts as a symbol to remember those who have lost their lives inside work zones.
At the end of 2020, Hill & Smith Inc.’s distributor in California, D&M Traffic Services, approached American Civil Contractors (ACC) West Coast following an award of bridge railing replacement project on the CalTrans Worker Memorial Bridge. Earlier that year, ACC had already used Zoneguard® steel barriers in a permanent application on I-17 in Santa Cruz, and they were looking to see the functionality when used in a temporary application. Though the project had several phases, about 8,500 linear feet was deployed at most during a single phase. With an average deployment rate of 750’ per hour, using Zoneguard® on this project equaled a 84% reduction in trucks required, less carbon emissions, and most importantly, less worker exposure.
“Since the 50’ sections of Zoneguard are so light, we’ve been able to make a lot of changes on the fly, especially when it comes to the different phases we have had throughout the project,” said project engineer, Jana DuMond for ACC West.
“Throughout the entirety of the project, myself and my crew members honestly felt safer behind this wall compared to working behind K-Rail [the most widely used concrete barrier in California]. There is also this strange sense of durability that we felt with using Zoneguard. I’m used to seeing chips on concrete fall from being dropped too hard or being run into with equipment on the job site, and on this job, we actually had our concrete trucks drive on the lip on the barrier in order to maneuver in and out of job site, and there was never any damage to Zoneguard. We really enjoyed using this as an alternative and the project itself has benefited from it.” Caltrans has implemented positive barrier guidance and new MASH barriers are slowly gaining acceptance in the state.
Project Manager Cliff Barber added “The steel barrier performed well and sustained several impacts along the barrier run that were evident only by the tire and paint marks left on the barrier, but the barrier wasn’t displaced or damaged. There was also a severe “head on” impact by a semi truck into the end of the barrier run that resulted in far less damage than we would anticipate using K-rail”.