Approximately 3.1 million miles of rural roads stretch across America. As area populations increase and these roadways become more functional and busier, they also have become more deadly. In 2003, more than 21,000 people were killed on rural roads. Most rural roads have no shoulders, limiting a driver's exit strategy during emergencies. Also, the sharp drop-off at the edge of the mat leads drivers, after being yanked off the edge, to ride it out or overreact and swerve back into oncoming traffic, either of which could be disastrous.
The Schenectady County Road Department, Schenectady, N.Y., outfitted one of their I-R/Blaw-Knox pavers with two devices from TransTech Systems Inc., Schenectady, N.Y., to alleviate the situation. The Notched Wedge Joint Maker tapers the road's longitudinal joint during laydown for a better interlock, higher density, fewer callbacks, and a longer road life at the joint, where roads have been found to deteriorate quickly. The tapered joint also provides a mini-ramp for traffic during construction. In addition, the Safety Edge Maker help reduce the shoulderless edge problem by creating a tapered edge on the outside of the mat.
Joe Ryan, director of public works for Schenectady County, said, “These TransTech devices really help us, both during the paving of one of our county roads and beyond.”