Georgia Develops and Implements the Safety EdgeSM
The Georgia Department of Transportation constructed a 13.3 mile (26.6 lane miles) asphalt overlay on a rural, two-lane, undivided highway using the Safety Edge. Research was conducted to answer critical questions about the constructability, performance, and durability of the new edge. The safety benefits of a 45-degree angled edge had already been proven through previous research efforts and therefore no measurements of vehicle dynamics or crash data analysis were conducted for this research. The most critical question that this research plan was designed to address was the constructability of the safety edge. Before this research project was undertaken no efforts had been taken to construct this type of angled pavement edge in Georgia. Through a series of projects, a forward-thinking District Maintenance Engineer and his staff developed a shoe that was welded to the paver. Through seven versions of the device, they made improvements, including the change from a 45-degree to a 30-degree angle and improving the compaction of the edge by the addition of springs and redesigning the shoe with a radius so the asphalt would be extruded. The pavement built with the Safety EdgeSM not only provided the safer shape, but showed less sign of cracking than the section built using conventional techniques. The Georgia DOT has put this shape into practice on paving projects throughout the State.