Maryland to test new technology to reduce risk to human flagging crews

WASHINGTON — Maryland highway officials will soon test new technology to lower the risk to human flagging crews in road work zones.

Rather than have a person with a long pole with “Stop” and “Slow” signs attached, Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration will use an automated flagger assistance device (AFAD).

“Human crews face great danger when controlling traffic with handheld Stop and Slow signs to alternate traffic,” said Charlie Gischler, spokesman for the state highway agency. “This new system is going to eliminate the need for somebody to stand in the road next to traffic.”

Drivers will see a trailer-mounted device parked on the side of the road with the same Stop and Slow signs used in human operations.

In addition, drivers will see white signs reading “Wait on Stop,” and “Go on Slow.”

Certified flaggers will be able to stand off the roadway, near the flagging device, in the event human intervention is needed.

The AFAD will be tested at a drainage project on Bedford Road (Maryland 807), just north of Cumberland, Maryland.

Gischler said a pipe will be replaced in the 900-foot-long work zone, which will require the reduction of travel lanes from two to one.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters and republished with permission. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

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