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Highways Department enhances safety protection measures for carrying out road works (with photos)

     The Highways Department (HyD) today (November 1) implemented a number of measures with a view to enhancing the safety protection of workers under the HyD's road works at the earliest opportunity.
     A spokesman for the HyD said that the department has been highly concerned about the recent traffic accidents involving road works, adding that the HyD would implement the following new measures to enhance road safety at its road works with effect from today:
(1) For road works on public roads with a speed limit of 70 kilometres per hour or above (including expressways), a shadow vehicle equipped with a truck-mounted attenuator (or temporary safety barriers with an appropriate containment level) and a longitudinal safety clearance zone (buffer zone) (see first photo) should be provided in front of the works area in order to reduce damage to the work site and injury to its workers if it is hit by a vehicle during an accident;

(2) The current requirements of providing shadow vehicles equipped with truck-mounted attenuators, flashing arrow signs, warning lanterns and signage when conducting mobile operations (such as setting up and removing lane closure, emptying a gully, sweeping/watering, or emergency road surface repairs) on expressways (see second photo) will also be applied to mobile operations on public roads with a speed limit of 70 km/h or above; and

(3) The specification requirement of retroreflectivity on the rear of a truck-mounted attenuator on a shadow vehicle will be enhanced to provide better warning to motorists and the minimum weight of a shadow vehicle will be clearly specified to enhance the protection for workers.
     In some special cases (such as cases involving complex urban road junctions and space constraints on roads) where the actual site environment does not have the conditions for implementing the above measures, the HyD officer-in-charge will work closely with relevant departments to develop the work plans and to strengthen temporary traffic control measures to enhance the overall safety of the works after taking into consideration the site constraints.

     The spokesman noted that according to the Road Traffic Ordinance (Cap. 374), the HyD has prescribed a Code of Practice for the Lighting, Signing and Guarding of Road Works and updates will be made when necessary. Contractors should follow the requirements of the Code of Practice to provide adequate lighting, signage and guarding to protect the safety of workers and road users.

     A working group comprising members from the Transport Department, the Police and the HyD is comprehensively reviewing the need to improve the lighting, signage and guarding measures relating to road works (with reference to the latest developments in relevant technologies, local experience, the latest overseas standards and practices, their feasibility and applicability to the local roads in Hong Kong, etc) with a view to further enhancing the safety protection measures for carrying out road works. It is anticipated that the review would be completed by mid-2017.

     The HyD will continue to reach out to understand the concerns of various stakeholders and exchange views on possible ways to further enhance the measures prescribed in the Code of Practice. The suggestions collected will also be thoroughly considered. Meanwhile, the HyD has strengthened the spot checks on whether the safety protection measures have been fully implemented by contractors in accordance with the contracts' requirements in carrying out the road works.

     Regarding the driving attitude of motorists, the relevant departments will enhance publicity and education for motorists and strengthen law enforcement. Before approaching road sections with road works being carried out, motorists should stay alert, abide by the temporary traffic signs and lights, and reduce vehicle speed to avoid affecting road safety.

Ends/Tuesday, November 1, 2016

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