On rainy nights in Georgia and across the nation, drivers greatly benefit from small, reflective markers that make roadway lanes more visible. There are more than 3 million of these devices, called raised pavement markers (RPMs), in service on Georgia highways. They are installed and then need to be replaced about every two years by road crews who consider the task one of the riskiest they face. Workers typically ride on a seat cantilevered off the side of a trailer just inches from highway traffic. Manual RPM placement is not only risky for personnel, but it is also expensive and time-consuming. A typical RPM placement operation includes four vehicles and a six-person crew. All the vehicles must stop at each marker location, so there is tremendous wear on the equipment and increased fuel use. The Georgia Department of Transportation believed there was a better way to do it and funded the Transportation research group to develop a first-of-its-kind system capable of automatically placing RPMs along the lane stripes while in motion. The prototype system is capable of dispensing an RPM onto the pavement along with the necessary hot-melt adhesive applied at 380 degrees Fahrenheit while traveling at 5 miles an hour. A pattern-change mechanism can position two placement mechanisms to accommodate any of GDOT’s five specified RPM placement patterns. Operation of the system only requires two people.
Project Contact: Wayne Daley