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Transport for NSW approached Oz Rumble to investigate the suitability of a milled-in audio-tactile treatment on their highways, as used widely in the USA and Europe. TfNSW was in the process of delivering the Great Western Highway Upgrade Program, with a number of significant engineering advancements, so it was a logical time for them to trial a permanent, milled-in audio-tactile system.

The Problem

The Great Western Highway is one of Australia’s most historic roads and a key east-west connection from Sydney to Bathurst. Over the last 100 years, the NSW Government has progressively upgraded sections of the highway to make it safer and more reliable. More recently they have invested approximately $282 million for upgrades to the highway between Kelso-Raglan, adding 34 kilometres of a dual-carriageway over the Blue Mountains, and upgrading the Great Western Highway between Katoomba-Blackheath, and between Little Hartle-Lithgow.

Within these upgrade projects, Transport for NSW (TfNSW) delivered important safety enhancements including improved road surfaces, intersection upgrades and lane widening. The overarching goal for the projects was to reduce congestion and deliver safer, more efficient and more reliable journeys for those travelling throughout the Blue Mountains, and to better connect communities in the Central West.

TfNSW is committed to providing improved delineation and safety initiatives across their extensive rural road network because historically, cross centre accidents have been a major cause of fatalities on these high traffic highways. They needed a strategy including a host of median barrier treatments, wire rope, w-beam and concrete barriers into the project scope to improve driver safety. That’s where Oz Rumble came in.

 

The Solution

Transport for NSW approached Oz Rumble to investigate the suitability of a milled-in audio-tactile treatment on their highways, as used widely in the USA and Europe. TfNSW was in the process of delivering the Great Western Highway Upgrade Program, with a number of significant engineering advancements, so it was a logical time for them to trial a permanent, milled-in audio-tactile system.

Oz Rumble had been developing milled rumble equipment for use in Australia and had already completed trials with Transport for New South Wales in November 2020. With equipment ready to go in Australia and a new plant in transit, we were able to offer TfNSW a selection of treatment options for a broadscale trial.

The task of building and maintaining a multi-use road network that is equally safe for commuters as well as industrial and tourist traffic is particularly challenging. In Australia, the extreme range of ambient temperatures through much of the year adds extra complexity, along with high axle loads placing enormous wear on roads and road markings. 

Oz Rumble’s audio-tactile treatments mitigate these challenges. The Oz Rumble Strip is a proven, cost-effective tactic for enhancing road delineation and preventing run-off-road accidents with reduced pavement maintenance required. Conventional audio-tactile treatments involve a raised profile in either a thermoplastic or cold applied plastic material. In contrast, Oz Rumble’s method mills the audio-tactile treatment into almost any substrate on new or older roads. It is designed to withstand resurfacing, water and debris build-up to deliver a cost-effective solution that efficiently reduces vehicle lane deviation and run-off incidents.

Implementation

Oz Rumble, in association with its established partner business Roadline Removal Australia, was able to offer this new-to-Australia pavement treatment to TfNSW. Having recently completed a substantial 600+ kilometre milled rumble project in Western Australia, our team was able to deploy our Skid Steer Rumbler to complete the works. Despite the constraints of Covid in NSW, Oz Rumble assembled sufficient plant and resources to deliver the requirements of the contract within a fairly defined operating window.

Our Skid Steer mounted SSR Rumbler fitted with a PCD cutting head achieved a highly defined milled profile in the uniform, dense grade asphalt road substrate. Each unit was calibrated to deliver the required spacing and depth of cut – we trialled the 200mm wide treatment at 305mm spacing and at a specified profile depth of 14mm which resulted in an excellent finish.

Outcome

This trial was the first wide centreline application of rumble strips in Australia, mirroring what is now a standardised treatment of all State and Federal Highways in the USA – so far, so good. Our client noted the high-performance finish and cost-effectiveness of the solution while feedback from professional road user groups (trucking and transport companies) indicates the audio-tactile treatment is highly effective in alerting drivers to lane deviation. TfNSW will be monitoring the trial performance on an ongoing basis, adding to their growing experience with the milled treatment and considering the method for future projects.

As the only milled-in rumble strip provider currently available in Australia and with successful trials of the method in multiple projects throughout the country, Oz Rumble is quickly becoming the Australian audio-road treatment provider of choice.

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Audible treatments for the life of your road