Performance of High Friction Bridge Deck Overlays in Crash Reduction


Dave EV, Kostick RD, Dailey J. Performance of High Friction Bridge Deck Overlays in Crash Reduction. Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities [Internet]. 2017;31 (2).


In recent history, a number of State Departments of Transportation have looked at providing safer driving conditions on bridges. One improvement method is placing high friction overlays on bridge decks. This study analyzed crash data to evaluate the performance of high friction overlays in reducing crashes. This study was completed by analyzing 10 years of data for nine bridges encompassing four different proprietary overlay systems. Within one of the overlay systems, three different aggregate types were also compared. Crash characteristics analyzed included the crash time, weather conditions, bridge surface conditions, average annual daily traffic, and severity of crashes. This study is part of a comprehensive study that includes extensive field evaluation and comparative performance analysis between different systems to evaluate their effectiveness on bridge decks in Minnesota. While the data presented herein is from bridge sites located in Minnesota, the findings apply to most of the northern tier states in the United States as well as other countries with colder climatic conditions. The analysis of data suggests that although there is a reducing trend in overall number of crashes; a reduction in crashes on bridges cannot be completely attributed to the use of high friction overlays. Furthermore, the presence of high friction overlays are unable to play a role in winter crash prevention. Thus this study shows that forensic evaluation of accident data does not support commonly anticipated crash reduction benefit of high friction overlays.