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Press Release: Highways

Skid Resistance Testing in Greece moves on thanks to GripTester Mk2

Tue, Oct, 14th, 2014

Scottish based manufacturer Findlay Irvine Ltd have been innovating products for transportation safety for over 50 years.  Having created weather warning systems for roads and airports followed by continuous friction measuring devices GripTester and micro GripTester, GripTester is by far their best known product in the World Highways market.  With over 500 currently in operation around the world, GripTester is helping Engineers to keep their network moving and user safer by offering an affordable means to measure skid resistance of pavements.

Now Greece is the latest country to adopt the GripTester Mk2 for Skid Resistance testing as Findlay Irvine recently presented PaveTest with their brand new machine.  Greece has had its well-publicised problems in recent years since the economic meltdown of 2008.  However, the interest in the value of Skid Resistance and the benefits of a testing and monitoring program has been ongoing since before 2007 when the authorities set Skid Resistance threshold levels as part of the specifications for the Highway Concession Projects.  These mandatory Skid Resistance Levels were set and the concessionaire and constructors had to comply with them which has meant that the skid resistance has to be monitored.  Since then, three major highways in Greece, Nea Odos, Olympia Odos and Agean Motorway have implemented a program, of regular skid resistance testing.

The initial skid resistance specifications published for these projects referred to an outdated skid resistance measuring technique, the K.J Law.  Pavetest spent a significant amount of time researching literature relating to skid resistance testing and various Continuous Friction Measuring Equipment (CFME) before undertaking a period of consultation with the Greek Authorities eventually persuading them to change the threshold levels and change the methodology in order to adopt the GripTester Mk2 as CFME of choice.

As a result, the importance of Skid Resistance monitoring and testing has become ever more prominent in Greece as authorities realise the potential of such a system for not only safety, but now asset management purposes as well.  Part of the reason for this is that a large proportion of Greek roads utilise limestone in the construction supplement the aggregate.  Due to the inherent geological properties of limestone, when present on a road surface it can cause rapid polishing of the aggregate and a loss of micro texture particularly in areas of heavy pollution which raise the acidity of the rain.  This loss of micro texture from the surface can cause an increase in accidents, particularly when wet as vehicle tyres cannot grip the roads surface due to the loss in the texture.

Only recently, the municipality of Athens has announced that it will measure Skid Resistance of all trunk road and main highways.  This will be done as part of a Skid Resistance Plan, including regular monitoring and is currently being implemented.  Other large cities in Greece are taking note and have been investigating regular Skid Resistance testing in order to reduce the perceived large number of wet skidding accidents in their regions.

In order to improve the safety of road users in Greece, importance is now being placed on the importance of Skid Resistance and a movement towards regimented testing system is now being worked on.  Not only from a safety point of view but also as a way to monitor the asset and allocate finite resources more strategically therefore justifying expenditure in these times of economic instability.