Major Road Projects Victoria (MRPV) has been trialling a new road safety and traffic management equipment as part of the M80 Ring Road upgrade project in Melbourne.
With the aim to save road workers from having to enter high risk zones on worksites, an Automated Cone Truck developed by Brisbane-based company Arrowes Roading Safety has been deployed to place and retrieve traffic cones automatically.
The trial, jointly funded by Major Road Projects Victoria (MRPV) and its construction partner CPB Contractors, started on the M80 Upgrade between Sydney Road and Edgars Road earlier this month.
Initial results from the trial show that the Automated Cone Truck can efficiently place and retrieve traffic cones, eliminating the interface between live traffic and workers when setting up temporary traffic management.
The truck is being tested off road before being moved into live traffic conditions where it will be trialled during night works.
“The safety of our people and the community is at the forefront of everything we do, so we’re excited to be the first to trial this innovative new technology on the M80 Upgrade,” MRPV program director Eric Shegog said.
Lane closures often require a combination of hard barriers and traffic cones to protect users and road workers while works take place. Manual deployment and collection of the cones can expose road workers to some of the highest risk zones on a road worksite.
Using the Automated Cone Truck reduces the need for workers to come close to live traffic conditions, which can be dangerous. It also reduces the risk of long-term injury from the lifting of the cones, which are heavy and require repetitive movement, and eliminates the risk of fatigue.
The Automated Cone Truck has been four years in the making, with Arrowes’ engineers dedicating more than 30,000 hours to the design and development of the prototype.
It is believed to be the first commercially available automated cone truck in Australia.
The M80 Ring Road is one of Melbourne’s busiest and largest freeways, spanning 38 kilometres between Laverton North and Greensborough, and carrying more than 165,000 vehicles each day.
The M80 Upgrade involves adding new lanes, upgrading key interchanges, building new on and off ramps and installing a smart freeway management system to provide safer and more reliable journeys for motorists in Melbourne’s north.
The M80 Upgrade is being delivered in multiple stages, with some sections already complete.
Major construction on the $518 million section between Sydney Road and Edgars Road is scheduled for completion in early 2023.