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

A new automated flagger will be tested, to reduce danger to human flagging crews. (Courtesy MD State Highway Administration)

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.

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