Road Zipper System Creates Safer Work Zones in Japan

The Road Zipper System is now working in Asia - creating safer work zones along the Joban Expressway, a major corridor in Moriya, Japan that runs north from the city of Tokyo.

Constructed with green parks built in stages across the top of the road, there are a series of tunnels where the parks cover the roadway. A construction project to re-seal the upper interior of the tunnels was underway when a vehicle passed through the plastic delineation that separated the workers from the motorists, killing a maintenance worker. In order to complete the project without additional fatalities or work zone encroachments, 1.2 miles (2000m) of moveable barrier was installed throughout the project.  Rather than create a continuous wall, the operating agency (Nexico) chose to leave four 100’ (30m) gaps for incident management, with the ends of the barrier wall protected by ABSORB 350® units that move with the barrier.

The work zone is expanded at night to create a large, efficient space, which increases productivity and adds an additional element of safety. The wall is repositioned each day in a double move that gives a lane back to traffic at 4:00 am and another lane at 7:00 am. A single Barrier Transfer Machine makes the first transfer and returns back through the work zone to stage for the second transfer. The 200 Series RTS Transfer Machine was delivered to Japan from Rio Vista, California. The 2000 1-meter long concrete barriers were sent over from the United Kingdom. Since the installation of the Road Zipper System, there have been no vehicle encroachments into the work zone.

Road Zipper operators completed extensive training, while they and the Lindsay field service staff managed significant language barriers. A traditional Japanese blessing ceremony was performed for the safety of the BTM operators and all of the workers involved with the project.

This six-month project is scheduled to be completed in September 2016.