Faced with a problem of vehicles straying from their lanes and destroying roadside pavement delineators, the Wyoming Department of Transportation is making sure its roads are safer for the traveling public by ensuring that road markers can bounce back and remain intact.
"In certain areas where vehicles have repeatedly damaged delineator posts, WYDOT installed flexible delineator posts," the department said, markers "that can withstand
being hit or run over numerous times without breaking."
WYDOT said the delineators help motorists see where the side of the road is during adverse weather conditions, and that maintenance crews also use the posts to help them see the lanes when they plow snow. Maintenance crews and emergency personnel also the markers to determine where emergency crossovers are on interstates highways, so they can get from one direction to the next without having to go to an exit.
Metal delineator posts tend to bend immediately after being hit, which WYDOT said can create a hazard because a bent post can possibly injure someone or damage a vehicle. And when crews try to straighten them the posts can snap.
So they tried the flexible products.
"Initially, I was a little skeptical about how they were going to hold up, but they have done amazingly well," said Tim McGary, District 1 maintenance engineer. "You can run over them numerous times, and they don't break. It seems like even in the cold they don't break, and they pop right back up."
Although the flexible delineators may cost more initially, McGary said they're actually cost-effective because maintenance crews don't have to constantly replace them. "We don't have to replace very many of the flexible delineators, but when we do the base is already in the ground," he said. "All you do is pull a pin and put a new one in its place, and it's done."
WYDOT's District 1 is adding more of the flexible delineators at highway crossovers to combat frequent repairs. It noted that maintenance crews can accidentally run into the posts when clearing snow, and motorists can mistakenly run them over with their vehicles if they use the crossover while towing a trailer.
At the crossovers, the diameter of the posts is larger so maintenance crews and emergency personnel can see them easier. Instead of the typical 2 ½ inch diameter posts, the crossovers have 3 ½ inch diameter posts with reflective material that can be seen in all directions.
"So now, not only do we have the flexibility at the crossovers, but if you're an ambulance, or a wrecker or a law enforcement officer and have to go backward, you can tell where the crossovers are because you can see the reflectivity from any direction," McGary said.