UK IPV First
A-one+ unveils UK first in impact protection
The first two of six new vehicles with a unique new Blade crash cushion will be on the roads of Area 4 in the south east from the beginning of August. As main contractor, we are taking safety back in house.
Our operatives carrying out repair and maintenance on the roads of Highways England’s Area 4 in Kent, Sussex and Surrey will be protected by the unique new crash cushion designed to absorb impacts including from heavier, larger vehicles with increased bumper heights.
The Blade is manufactured by Dutch company Verdegro and has been supplied to A-one+ by UK distributor, King Highway Products. It is the only crash cushion that has been tested to US MASH crash testing standards – the most demanding in the world.
The cushion when deployed extends out to 6m in length and will be installed on to a new fleet of traffic management vehicles supplied by Safety Vehicle Hire and Lease, the specialist rental arm of King Highway Products.
Alongside the Blade, we will also be using a new ‘RedX’ arrow board on the vehicle, also manufactured by Verdegro, designed to match the latest traffic management signage being used on smart motorways to signal lane closures.
Both have recently been approved for use on the strategic road network by Highways England and Department for Transport.
A-one+ has adopted new best practice technology since taking over Area 4 and as part of the new ASC contract took direct control of traffic management rather than subcontracting the function.
“Direct control means we know we are using the most up to date equipment tested and maintained to the highest standard,” says A-one+ Transport Manager for Area 4 Gavin Crittenden. “Safety of our operatives is our top priority. But we are also finding that self delivering on traffic management and operative protection is more cost efficient.
“We went looking for a new impact cushion because cars and lorries have got bigger and we need tougher protection for our staff working in front of our impact protection vehicles repairing the roads, litter picking or clearing up after accidents.
“When the cushion is deployed behind an IPV, if anything hits it the IPV’s brakes lock and the cushion absorbs all the impact to stop the truck being pushed forward threatening our operatives, even under braking,” Crittenden says.
The Blade unit measures 6m long by 2.4m wide and is named after the way in which the patented invention works. According to Verdegro the unit’s strength comes from a composite aluminium welded profile. The unit has 12 internal ‘blades’ and during an impact four blades cut through the aluminium composite H-beams, with another 8 cutting through welded tubes, absorbing the impact. The remaining weak aluminum parts bend away safely.
A-one+ takes delivery of the first two new IPV’s fitted with the Blade and the RedX at the beginning of August with another four by the end of August.
The A-one+ ASC contract for Area 4 covers the M2, M20, M23, A2, A20, A21, A23, A26, A27, A259 and A2070.