Safely Implementing Rolling Roadblocks for Short-term Highway Construction, Maintenance, and Utility
When safely implemented, rolling roadblocks are a highly effective traffic management technique for temporarily slowing or completely stopping traffic upstream of short-term road work activities.
What is a Rolling Roadblock
A rolling roadblock, also known as a temporary road closure, rolling block, pacing operation, or traffic pacing, is a common highway traffic control technique used to temporarily slow or stop traffic upstream of construction, maintenance, and utility work activities requiring a short-term full closure of the roadway.
Transportation agencies around the country are actively utilizing rolling roadblocks for a variety of road work activities such as:
Bridge construction and/or replacements.
Placing or removing overhead lights or sign structures.
Overhead utility work.
Blasting for rock excavation or debris removal.
Rolling roadblocks allow for faster completion of road work activities by allowing workers full access on and above a roadway, and the opportunity for a safe environment by completely removing vehicles that would normally be in close proximity to workers.
Safely Implementing Rolling Roadblocks
While a rolling roadblock is a highly effective traffic control technique, their use can pose safety hazards to the traveling public if not implemented safely. As a best practice, transportation agencies are encouraged to have policies and procedures in place for the safe use of rolling roadblocks. Best practices for safely implementing rolling roadblocks include:
Developing an emergency plan for managing traffic should unforeseen circumstances occur.
Conducting a planning meeting prior to the operation with all stakeholders, including law enforcement, utility and construction personnel, and other emergency response agencies.
Conducting a final meeting among stakeholders before the rolling roadblock is executed to ensure all requirements have been implemented.
Issuing press releases to radio/television stations and newspapers, and sharing plans on the agency's website and social media sites, and with third-party data providers
Advising the public in advance as to when the rolling roadblock will be performed, including using:
Portable changeable message signs (PCMS) to display appropriate messages to the public at least a week in advance of the roadblock.
PCMS on the day of roadblock to alert users that the operation will be happening that day, including hours during which the roadblocks will occur.
Any existing permanent changeable message signs (CMS) within the activity area for public notification.
Utilizing advance warning signs and queue warning systems to alert traffic to the downstream presence of a slow or stopped traffic condition.