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Very Short Duration Work Zone Safety for Maintenance and Other Activities

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TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Synthesis 533 identifies the current state of practice among state departments of transportation (DOTs) regarding selection and setup of very short duration work zone (VSDWZ).

The report presents case examples of four state DOTs along with an in-depth analysis of the VSDWZ policies of these states. The case example agencies have developed specific guidance on the topic for their jurisdictions.

VSDWZ activities are those activities not defined in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) under short duration work zone or temporary traffic control (TTC) zones. These activities are usually 1 to 20 minutes long and include maintenance activities (e.g., performing temporary patching, picking up debris, or placing traffic count tubes) where TTC is not set up.

VSDWZ activities reduce the exposure of workers to risk and the inconvenience to traffic that standard TTC zones would create. Current policies and practices in place at various agencies for VSDWZ activities vary substantially. The work-zone setup also varies by the type of maintenance or other very short duration activity and roadway classification (e.g., speed, AADT, and number of lanes). Historically, during those activities, a large number of worker fatalities have occurred.


Suggested Citation

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Very Short Duration Work Zone Safety for Maintenance and Other Activities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

74 pages | 8.5 x 11

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