Improving Safety on the Sixth Most Dangerous Road in the World
Dalton Highway, Alaska

Project Details

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Location
Dalton Highway, Alaska

CHALLENGE:
Engineer a roadside delineator post that improves visibility and safety while reducing maintenance along one of the most remote and dangerous roadways in the world.

SOLUTION:
Leverage extrusion expertise to deliver a custom-engineered post that is able to withstand the harsh elements and will rebound when struck. The cantilever structure consists of an extruded profile mounted to a highly-reflective arm with a special, flexible coupler.

INNOVATIVE THINKING:
Customized, extrusion-based roadside delineator posts from Pexco are improving visibility for Alaska’s “ice road” truckers. This reflective marker provides safety and reduces maintenance on one of the most challenging roadways in the world and demonstrates Pexco’s range of capability, design and manufacturing talents within profile plastic extrusion.

Traffic safety is a serious concern on the Dalton Highway, a 414-mile road in Alaska, one of the most remote, and the 6th most dangerous highway in the world. Half of all vehicle crashes on Dalton occur during daylight hours, while fully a quarter of the crashes occur at night along unlighted sections of the road.

Frequent inclement weather with blowing snow and whiteout conditions necessitate marking the road shoulders to ensure safe navigation of this important remote highway.

In the spring of 2009, Pexco was asked for assistance designing and upgrading a delineator post to improve safety on the Dalton Highway. Pexco’s custom-made solution is the new “Dalton Delineator,” a cantilever structure consisting of an extruded, cut-to-length roadside delineator profile mounted to a second extrusion – a special, flexible coupler.

The Pexco Traffic and Safety division engineering team applied its knowledge of plastic and process extrusion to advance the innovation and deliver resilient performance properties. The innovative coupler attaches to a square, steel tube support that is situated off of the traveled roadway. When installed, the delineator post, or “arm,” projects horizontally from the shoulder, above the roadway, is capable of rebounding when struck and provides excellent reflectivity at night. The tube is attached to the delineator and then slipped into the steel cantilever. When the delineator arm is impacted, the custom thermoplastic provides flexibility and permits the arm to deflect and then return to the proper position. Materials for both the arm and the coupler were chosen for their UV-stability and most especially for their cold temperature impact performance.

The last part of the custom solution featured color. Pexco manufactured white delineator arms on one side of the road and green on the opposite side. Similar to running lights on a boat, this color coding gives drivers a clear indication of their position on the road, even in the most blinding snowstorms.
In the summer of 2011, Pexco’s new delineators were installed along a 200 mile section, providing enhanced visibility for maintenance crews and users of the Dalton Highway.

Key Takeaways:
Extensive extrusion and thermoplastic material know-how
Unique product design to meet installation and maintenance requirements