Starting 2019, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation plans to embark on a three-year, $45 million effort to upgrade and replace the guiderails and guiderail end treatments along the 40,000 miles of highway it is responsible for maintaining – updates that meet changes in federal standards that are based on voluntary guidelines developed by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials’ Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware.
The agency said in a statement that it is also going to use an “enhanced asset management approach” for this upgrade/replacement effort; an approach that includes improved data collection for identifying maintenance needs for guiderail and guiderail end treatments, processes that drive corrective measures, and assessments of when guiderail has reached the end of its service life.
Moving beyond the interstate system, PennDOT noted that it will upgrade guiderail and end treatments, as appropriate, as part of new, reconstruction and pavement preservation projects listed on the 12-Year Program for expressways, National Highway System routes and lower volume roads.
Additionally, upgrade programs relative to systems that are approaching the end of their useful life will require the advancement of guiderail-specific projects, the agency said, with those parts of its plan “prioritized” by network, with the higher volume roads being upgraded first and with priority given to hardware that does not meet current standards.
For addressing the systematic program upgrades, including on lower volume networks, PennDOT’s plan envisions increasing the current $44 million annual budget for guiderail upgrades to roughly $70 million to $90 million annually over the next 12 to 15 years.