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Press Release: Highways

Highways Agency and TRL adopt new approach to measuring Skid Resistance

Fri, Apr, 27th, 2012

The Highways Agency and TRL have recently adopted an innovative approach to measuring Skid Resistance with the purchase of Findlay Irvine’s microGripTester push operated friction measuring device.  As part of the Transport For London (TFL) funded project entitled, “Reducing Congestion in the Road Network Plating, Temporary Backfill and Fast Cure Technologies” TRL have seen the need to utilise the Findlay Irvine micro GripTester to measure the Skid Resistance of different materials.  As part of the study, different materials are made into road plates (see attached picture A) in order to be tested for various properties including Skid Resistance.  The Findlay Irvine GripTester was selected due to it’s ability to constantly and accurately measure Skid Resistance over a continuous length.  The results will then be used to fully assess the suitability of the materials for covering excavations in the carriage.


Having been first introduced to the market almost two years ago, Findlay Irvine’s microGripTester has been touted as a truer indicator of surface friction levels than British Pendulum test as can measure a full length of a surface rather than just being a spot test.  With modern features such as controlled water delivery, built in GPS and easy to use software it is being used to test all manner of surfaces, paints, metal works and materials.  It was partly these properties that prompted the Highways Agency to purchase two microGripTesters for use, initially, on Area 2.


The Highways Agency has also recently acquired two microGripTesters for use in MAC Area 2 (see attached image B).   The two units will be placed in the Incident Support Vehicles for use on the trunk road network should a spillage or closure occur.  Bobby Metti from the Highways Agency said, “maintenance of adequate levels of skidding resistance on running surfaces is a highly important aspect of highway maintenance and contributes significantly to our network safety. When the road surface is contaminated as a consequence of vehicle collisions, clear up is achieved through the use of proprietary products available to us. Our experienced teams then have to make a final assessment to determine if the road surface is fit for traffic.”  


The lightweight nature of the device and one-person operation makes deploying the microGripTester a simple task and it’s ability to display instant results provides a full audit trail into the decision making process after an incident.  Something which in these times of litigation offers a layer of protection when borderline decisions have to be made at short notice of whether or not to reopen a closed or affected road.  


The Highways Agency’s Bobby Metti continued, “The recent addition of a Finlay Irvine micro GripTester helps the team make an informed decision, providing a qualitative reading and enabling an accurate prediction to be made of the capability of the cleaned surface. The use of the micoGripTester will enable us to demonstrate that we have achieved satisfactory levels and gone as far as reasonably practicable to safeguard the safety of all users of our network.”


It is hoped that with successful acquisition of the microGripTesters, this will be rolled out throughout the incident support vehicles across the Highways Agency network.