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Safety Edge

Safety Edge Quick Facts

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  • The Safety Edge is a paving detail that consolidates the pavement edge into a 30-degree angle to mitigate pavement-edge drop-offs.

  • The Safety Edge can help decrease highway fatalities and serious injuries on our Nation’s highways.

  • The Safety Edge involves minimal time and cost to implement. It is installed during paving, using a special commercially available shoe that attaches to existing equipment in just a few minutes. Typically, less than 1 percent additional asphalt is needed.

  • As with any paving project, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recommends grading the material that is adjacent to the pavement edge flush with the top of the pavement. The Safety Edge takes effect as the graded material settles, erodes, or is worn down.

  • After drifting from the pavement, drivers may have difficultly returning to their lanes safely if they encounter a vertical edge drop-off. Installing the 30-degree Safety Edge offers drivers a safe transition back to the road where these drop-offs recur.

  • Tests of the Safety Edge technology show that it allows vehicles to negotiate even steep differences between paved and unpaved surfaces.

  • Because the Safety Edge provides an additional level of consolidation on the edge, edge raveling is decreased. This contributes to longer pavement life.

  • The Safety Edge is also recommended for concrete pavement edges adjacent to graded material. Some additional costs and special considerations exist for this application.

  • The FHWA’s goal is to accelerate the implementation of Safety Edge technology. This involves moving 40 or more States to adopt a standard specification.

United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration

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Page last modified on May 18, 2012.
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