Representatives from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently stated that the administration plans to implement a series of actions that will allow the reimbursement eligibility process of states to buy and install guardrails and similar roadside safety hardware.
This is part of the FHWA’s fast transition from current road safety hardware to the latest crash test criteria required. As of Jan. 1, 2016, all proposals to modify a roadside safety device will need to meet the full-scale crash test criteria as designated in American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware. Even if the proposed device has met the National Cooperative Highway Research Program Report 350’s criteria, the device must meet the new standards.
In addition, FHWA has improved the transparency of how it determines which devices are suitable for federal reimbursement. The FHWA informed industry and other stakeholders that manufacturers and test labs will be required to disclose all of their financial interests in order to qualify for federal reimbursement.
Also, the FHWA recently called for an independent end-to-end review for the complete roadside safety hardware process. The review will cover the process from developing and testing to the final field performance of the devices.
“Our goal is to make our roads, bridges and highways as safe as possible, in part by accelerating the move to the newer crash test criteria,” FHWA acting administrator Gregory Nadeau said at the AASHTO 2015 Spring Meeting in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Friday.