IRF-Washington Holds Four Days of Safer Roads by Design Seminars

More than 200 engineers and road authorities attended IRF-Washington’s Safer Roads by Design™ seminars held in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Kuwait, and Qatar May 18 – 22. These one-day training seminars were designed to introduce the audience to the state-of-the-are concepts and best practices being used around the world to reduce the severity of the inevitable accidents that will occur on every road in the world. The Roadside Safety Seminars were hosted by the Abu Dhabi Municipality in Abu Dhabi, the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai, the Ministry of Public Works in Kuwait and Ashghal in Qatar. The hosts provided excellent, first class venues that included breakfast and lunch for the attendees. Mike Dreznes, Vice President, Barrier Systems moderated the seminars as Chairman of the IRF-Washington Road Safety Working Group. “Road authorities must make the effort to understand and use available technologies and concepts to make their roadsides safer,” said Dreznes. “Not taking responsibilities for their actions could result in needless deaths on their roads. This is unacceptable”. Dick Powers, who recently retired from the United States Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and is a recognized expert in roadside safety, made the technical presentations on longitudinal barrier, crash cushions and terminals. Each of these technical presentations was followed by a panel discussion that included some of the leading experts in the world on roadside safety as well as local representation. The international experts included:

  • Peter Bergendahl, Trinity Industries (Sweden)
  • Tony Cooper, Barrier Systems (Cyprus)
  • Fadi El-Hassan, Industrias Duero/Midwil (Qatar)
  • Georg Hiekmann, PASS & Co (Germany)
  • Tony Elliot, Varley & Gulliver (United Kingdom)
  • Juan Carlos Viera, Barrier Systems (United States)

The panel discussed “passive safety” products – such as safety barriers (concrete barrier, steel guardrail and cable barrier), crash cushions, transitions, terminals and breakaway devices make roadside objects less rigid, allowing motorists to walk away from accidents that otherwise might have killed them. “It was my pleasure to participate in this important seminar,” said Bergendahl. “Trinity was able to secure some orders this week and also got some new inquiries so I think it was well spent time. I look forward to see the result of this and I surely hope that we have started something.” Attendees said they appreciated the opportunity to learn about state of the art technologies and best practices being used around the word to make roadsides safer. Many delegates said they recognized the need to update their standards and the need to start to use current products. “The quality of presenters and presentations were excellent and I am sure they will help in raising the awareness of attendees to the need to employ effective products based on good standards,” said Mohamed Abdah, the Traffic Safety Specialist from the Urban Planning & Development Authority in Qatar. “We will never stop learning when it comes to road safety. We should all do what we can prevent the unnecessary loss of life.”

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