High Friction Surface Treatment Sticks Up for Quick Stops

road work

Drivers are getting a serious grip at 14 high-collision locations throughout the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island with the application of high friction surface treatment.

High friction? Yeah, basically the roads at four interchange off-ramps and 10 intersections are getting coarser to reduce skidding, and thus, decrease braking distances.

Here’s how it works: using an automated truck-mounted machine, crews lay down specialized aggregate overtop a resin binder. The type of aggregate is called calcined bauxite, which is extremely hard and retains the sharp edges produced from crushing – a combination that provides a big boost to skid resistance.

Watch contractor DBI Services in action:

As you can see below, crews must hit the sweet spot when laying down the binder – too little, and it won’t hold the aggregate in place; too much, and there won’t be enough exposed aggregate to come in contact with, and help stop, rolling tires. Think of it as the Goldilocks principle.

graphic

Binder and aggregate application (Source: AASHTO TC3)

The applications are 150 metres to 250 metres, long depending on the location, and the distances were determined based on where typical traffic queues form and vehicles begin braking.

We partnered with ICBC to identify the 14 locations based on a review of collision and claims data:

Lower Mainland

  • Highway 1 – Capilano Road off-ramp (westbound) in North Vancouver
  • Highway 1 – Lonsdale Avenue off-ramp (eastbound/westbound) in North Vancouver
  • Highway 1 – Willingdon Avenue off-ramp (eastbound) in Burnaby
  • Highway 1 – Brunette Avenue off-ramp (eastbound/westbound) in Coquitlam
  • Highway 7 – 203 Street intersection (eastbound) in Maple Ridge
  • Highway 7 – 207 Street intersection (eastbound) in Maple Ridge
  • Highway 7 – Kennedy Road intersection (eastbound/westbound) in Pitt Meadows
  • Highway 7 – Laity Street intersection (eastbound) in Maple Ridge
  • Highway 10 – 120 Street/Scott Road intersection (eastbound/westbound) in Surrey
  • Highway 10 – 176 Street intersection (eastbound/westbound) in Surrey

Vancouver Island

  • Highway 17 – Cloverdale Avenue intersection (southbound) in Saanich
  • Highway 17 – Elk Lake Drive intersection (northbound/southbound) in Saanich
  • Highway 17 – Sayward Road intersection (northbound) in Saanich
  • Highway 17 – Mt. Newton Cross Road intersection (northbound/southbound) in Saanich

Friction between tire and road is such an important factor for stopping vehicles quickly. This surface treatment could have a significant impact in reducing collisions, especially in wet conditions and high-speed situations. This initial round of high friction surface treatment is being done as a pilot. We’ll evaluate its success before considering its application at other locations.

Have you driven on this surface treatment yet? What was it like? Let us know in the comments below.

 

 

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5 Responses to High Friction Surface Treatment Sticks Up for Quick Stops

  1. Irritated YYJ Cyclist on August 13, 2019 at 4:36 pm

    The southbound bike lane along Blanshard is full of awful fine gravel thanks to this nonsense. If you really want to calm traffic on this non-highway road, road diets and protected bike lanes are the way to do it, not this waste of time!

    MOTI should not be in the business of managing urban roads, anyway. You really aren’t very good at it, you keep thinking they’re highways in the middle of nowhere.

    Please sweep Blanshard in the next day or two, it’s hazardous and awful right now.

    • tranbceditor on August 14, 2019 at 2:33 pm

      Hello Irritated YYJ Cyclist,

      We reached out to the project team who helped deliver the High Friction Surface Treatment works. They informed us that a vacuum sweeper makes multiple passes, after the product has cured, to pick up the loose bauxite aggregate, The treated surface is then examined by the work crews. They know the shedding issue, and do their best to remove as much as possible prior to opening the road to traffic. It is a normal for there to be shedding after the surface is driven on. The loose material is thrown by the traffic to the sides and carried downstream onto the untreated surfaces.
      A secondary clean-up is required to be performed three to five days after construction, but the contractor generally will sweep the next shift, and succeeding shifts, to pick up the shed material.
      We hope that this helps to answer your concern.

  2. Shocked Driver on August 13, 2019 at 8:34 am

    Horrified as I drove over this surface and small rocks are flying everywhere!!! Rocks flying at me from the cars in front of me. I’ve driven over 3 places and it’s all the same. It’s worse than driving over a gravel road. The rocks stuck to my tires and flung off after. I could hear them hitting my car from the cars in front of me. What if I was a pedestrian or cyclist? Or in a convertible? It seems like a crazy road surface to me.

    • tranbceditor on August 13, 2019 at 3:49 pm

      Hi there Shocked Driver,

      Have the roads been recently treated? There may be small rocks on the surface, which will adhere after application. Could you tell us where you noticed this? We would like to follow up.

      • tranbceditor on August 14, 2019 at 2:33 pm

        Hi there again shocked driver. We reached out to the project team who helped deliver the High Friction Surface Treatment across the Lower Mainland. They informed us that a vacuum sweeper makes multiple passes, after the product has cured, to pick up the loose bauxite aggregate, The treated surface is then examined by the work crews. They know the shedding issue, and do their best to remove as much as possible prior to opening the road to traffic. It is a normal for there to be shedding after the surface is driven on. The loose material is thrown by the traffic to the sides and carried downstream onto the untreated surfaces.
        A secondary clean-up is required to be performed three to five days after construction, but the contractor generally will sweep the next shift, and succeeding shifts, to pick up the shed material.
        We hope that this helps to answer your concern.

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