Composite Delineators verses Steel

Composite Delineators verses Steel

The information listed here discusses composite delineator systems, specifically the versatility, the durability, the affordability and most importantly, the ability to utilize a product that brings safety to the forefront in roadside maintenance.
Multi-hit, omni-directional, self-righting systems, such as our SHUR-TITE flexible delineator system, provide a long lasting, extremely durable product requiring minimal field maintenance and providing maximum life-cycle costs.

The mantra of the American Traffic Safety Services Association states ……………….“SAFER ROADS SAVE LIVES”!

The inherent ability of composite delineator systems to withstand the abuse of recurrent impacts while remaining straight and serviceable provides to Maintenance and Traffic personnel a most reliable roadway option for a roadway guidance device.  We are constantly searching for product design innovations that will improve our Shur-Tite system,  in ways to maximize prevention of motor vehicle incidents.
The MUTCD states, “delineators are particularly beneficial at locations where the roadway alignment might be confusing or unexpected, such as lane reductions, transitions and curves. Delineators are effective guidance devices at night and during adverse weather. An important advantage of delineators in certain locations is that they remain visible when the roadway is wet or snow covered.”

WyDOT’s black composite posts are an extremely important feature in low-light and inclement weather conditions, such as in snow or in dust storms or in foggy weather. Anytime vision might be hindered, these posts are a beacon of safety to the motorist. As the driving public ages, and with us baby boomers easing into our twilight years, {this is termed the greying of America}, there exists an issue with the driver’s sight becoming more problematic.   DOTs addressed this issue several years ago with their use of larger lettering for sign graphics. Easily identifiable delineation of roadways becomes more important to assure fewer off-road incidents.

In addition to better visibility, composite posts are less likely to be missing altogether or downed from an impact, in comparison to steel u-channel posts.
Downed posts can result in traffic issues from which oftentimes liability scenarios and legal consequences ensue. Also, the dull grey, faded, galvanized finish of steel posts blend into the background on roadways, while composite posts with their stand-out colors, provide a smooth bright finish with 360 degree visibility, and added retro-reflectivity , that easily stands out when conditions require and when they are needed the most.   Steel posts are only effective when headlights horizontally aimed, light up their reflective tab. Impacted and leaning posts provide little or no roadway reflectivity assistance to motorists.  Serious safety issues can also exist when impacted steel posts are dangerously angled upwards, and surprisingly, many times, directed towards oncoming traffic, a prospective nightmare scenario for puncturing tires, gas tanks or, God forbid, having a motorcyclist impact with them.

The Idaho Transportation Department January 2012 Traffic Manual states, in section 252.11, regarding rigid, steel, versus flexible posts, “In areas where the post is exposed to a risk of being hit repeatedly, particularly in gore areas, a flexible, self-erecting or yielding type of post should be considered for installation in place of the steel or channel post”.Composite delineation systems that incorporate a three component design, as ours does, also allow for replacement of any separate piece of the system, a footing, a flex-piece or a post. This allows for a money-saving system that does not require replacement of complete units when not necessary.

There also is an interchangeability benefit:  A composite post can be used with an in-roadway channelizing system, our base-supported surface mount system and with our Driveable, roadway shoulder installed, guidepost system: this system exhibits unparalleled versatility.  This money saving design concept should resonate well with cost-conscious purchasing departments.

The UTAH Department of Transportation compiled in 2011, an “Accomplishment and Efficiencies” document that states, “Standard delineator posts are made from rigid galvanized steel. When a delineator post is hit, it no longer provides visual delineation. UDOT crews either replace the damaged post or try to bend it back into shape using brute force. UDOT has used flexible shaft delineators, but none have proved satisfactory. Composite three- piece system delineators can sustain nearly ten times as many vehicle strikes as the other flexible shaft delineators that we have used. The entire post bends at the joint. Because of this different bending motion, the post itself does not fracture or shatter when struck at low temperatures. For areas where delineators are frequently damaged, the lower life-cycle cost of composite delineators amounts to an annual savings of $75.00 per installation. Traffic services are improved because delineators remain serviceable. Risk exposure of UDOT employees is reduced to fewer calls, and less scrap materials requiring disposal are created.”

Our SHUR-TITE composite delineator system utilizes perforated steel square tubing as a footing system. This type of material is advantageous because of its comparative ease in driving it into the ground, its ability to be easily customized to length, governed by differing soil conditions, such as sandy, swampy or areas of extreme hardness, and because of its affordability, with it being a non-proprietary, commodity tube item, produced by numerous American steel mills.
Inherent with the durability of composite posts, is the product’s ability to be quickly replaced. When required, a less than one-minute change-out is easily accomplished.  Crash tests have been conducted and videoed showing 100 impacts of our posts at 50 MPH with 50 of these impacts being tire drive-overs, but, when after phenomenal abuse, a new post is needed, a field technician can correct this issue in less than a minute, minimizing his exposure to traffic and keeping him out of harm’s way.  Flexible posts do initially cost more than steel delineators, but rarely is the cost of straightening or repeatedly changing out a post taken into consideration. Several years ago, a western State DOT quoted a cost, just of replacement of a steel post of $135.00, not including the cost of the post. This being the cost when there would be only one person, one vehicle involved in the action/replacement.  The exclusive design concept of our flexible/composite delineator posts exhibits substantially more structural integrity than what was prevalent in earlier systems, thus allowing the mounting of plaques or shields of considerable size. For instance, on narrow bridges, an application that experiences recurrent knock-downs of OM3 plaque installations, the introduction of a reboundable composite post/flexible-joint, helps to solve the issue.  This versatility/functionality in myriad applications is a unique feature in the highway safety industry.
With our composite delineators, durability is the key, and the field-life of our Shur-Tite system translates to extremely positive life-cycle benefits, which are unsurpassed in the trade.  The Multi-hit feature and long field-life attributes, provide workers with a system that can be relied on for years of worry-free performance, in fact the Arizona DOT stipulates in their State contract with us that composite delineators must exhibit a field life of 10 years. We were glad to accept their requirements.

Fading of colored posts is also quite an issue with some manufacturer’s goods. Our posts include, inherent in the material itself, a premium UV package resulting in a colorfast product that will withstand effects of extreme sun exposure.
WyDOT has rededicated itself into being more innovative, effective and efficient. SHUR-TITE Products prides itself in being a proven partner in transportation practices, helping to modernize our nation’s roadways.
WyDOT is always looking for ways to increase the focus on worker safety. Safety is a year-round priority, and nothing is more important than the safety of field personnel and the public.  Reducing exposure to traffic by personnel in the DOT is paramount in our composite delineator design and key to ours and WyDOT’s ultimate goal of achieving ZERO fatalities in the field and reducing work-related injuries.