IMPLEMENTATION OF

AASHTO MASH-16

MASH Tested Temporary Barriers will become mandatory on your project soon.

Do your road safety hardware products meet the most current crash testing standards?
What is the real service life of your temporary barrier assets?
Will you get your moneys worth out of the barrier you buy today, if it becomes obsolete at the transition to MASH date?

AASHTO MASH-16

These are key questions for the road safety hardware industry as we approach the transition to the most current crash testing standard requirements for North America, Australia and New Zealand.

TRANSITION TO MASH IN AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

TRANSITION TO MASH IN USA

In the United States, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) working with the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHTO) published their transition guidance on January 7, 2016.

This guidance gives states, contractors and asset owners the guidance on when each type of road safety hardware product needs to be transitioned to MASH, 2016 Edition crash tested products.

By December 31, 2019, FHWA advise that all temporary barriers must be MASH-16 tested and eligible. Hardware is allowed to be used to the end of its useful life.

As an asset user and owner, how do you determine the end of the useful life of a temporary concrete barrier?  The variation in opinion about the life cycle of temporary concrete barriers ranges from 1 year to 20 years.  There seem to be no consensus on the true life of these barriers.  As an asset owner do you want to run the risk of extending the life too far?

Of equal concern is investment in an asset now that may become ineligible for use in the near future.

TRANSITION TO MASH IN AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

Austroads issued guidance for Australia and New Zealand in April 2018.

ASBAP, in line with Austroads implementation of Safe System by 2020, has mandated that all roadside safety products must be MASH compliant in stages over the next 2 ½ years.

All temporary barriers in Australia must be MASH compliant by December 31, 2020.

Effective immediately no new product will be accepted that has not been MASH tested.

Unlike the USA, there is no mention in the ASBAP notice of permission to continue using a product to the end of its useful life.

This could have quite serious financial implications for any contractor that purchases a barrier now, which is not MASH compliant. The risk to the asset owner is that the product purchased today, in 2018, that is not fully MASH Tested and Accepted, may become obsolete at the end of 2020, at potentially great financial loss.

All new products coming before ASBAP in Australia for recommendation for use, must be fully MASH Tested. Currently there are many barriers that are hybrid tested, some MASH and some NCHRP350. Others are not tested at all.

The Austroads ‘Open Letter to Industry’ of April 2018, in part, advises the following:

“The Panel will transition the current suite of accepted road safety barrier systems and devices within the Australasian market to MASH guidelines in line with the following timeframes:

………

“31 December 2020      Transitions, temporary barriers, Part 2 products”

“Product proponents are advised that the Panel will not retest currently accepted products in line with the MASH guidelines as part of the re-rating process”

This could be interpreted to mean that if a product owner has not fully tested their barrier to meet MASH-16, in its current form, it may no longer be used on Australian roads.

If an asset owner has a product variant that does not meet MASH 16 requirements in its current form, could be forced to purchase new MASH 16 tested and approved barriers after 2020.

In Australia and New Zealand asset owners should think carefully about any temporary barrier purchase, taking in to consideration its useful life, and return on investment if it is to be discarded at the end of 2020. Remember there is no guarantee that a barrier in its current approved form will pass the more rigorous and demanding MASH tests. It is possible that manufacturers may have to modify product to get compliance. Modifications to pass MASH 16 could make the existing version obsolete.

In the mean time there are more temporary barriers entering the market that have been fully tested in line with the MASH guidelines, that are available today and as future proof as possible.

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