On guard

An investment in new technology by Turchi Guardrail International is changing the design and performance of roadside barriers both here and in Australia.   BY RACHEL MACDONALD

Guardrail.jpgSix locations in the South Island, between Murchison and Nelson, are in the process of becoming the first roadsides in the country to feature New Zealand’s first Nu-Guard 31 guardrail system. A total of 1400 metres of the all-steel barrier is currently being rolled out by Dunedin’s Beeby Construction [now trading as Turchi Guardrail International].

“This step ahead is the culmination of months of planning, which has included importing new guardrail installation machines made by Turchi in Italy, which are capable of installing timber and wire rope posts, as well as the steel ones we’re advocating,” says managing director Stephen Beeby. “And as it’s hydraulic, we no longer need to be digging those 300mm x 300mm holes, so the boys are pretty happy about that!”

The new Turchi 260S installs guardrail posts to exactly the correct height and alignment, ready for the rails to be attached. It also greatly reduces the risk of damaging buried Telecom lines and other services.

“We’ve been installing road safety barrier systems since 1984, and it was time to investigate some of the faster, more efficient and cost-effective methods used in larger markets overseas,” says Beeby. “We found the Turchi 260S, which was ideal for our purposes, and then approached CSP Pacific to source a compliant steel post, which turned out to be the Nu-Guard 31guardrail system.”

Beeby Construction then set about convincing its clients to change the way the country’s guardrails are constructed. It held a workshop for around 30 industry representatives at Horseshoe Bend in Nelson, in February, to demonstrate its advantages.

“The new system is like a kitset and does away with the time-consuming business of carting around heavy timber posts. The post-holes are drilled by a machine-powered auger drive and hammer drill, to a pre-specified depth,” says Beeby. “It’s quick, the Nucor steel posts are more durable than wood and are recyclable, and the whole operation takes up a much smaller footprint on the road, leaving more room on the shoulder. What’s more, ground conditions present no problems.”

The Nu-Guard 31 guardrail system design has also been fully approved by Transit New Zealand, and is tested and approved to  NCHRP 350 Test level 3. In addition, it’s ISO 9001 Quality Assurance-compliant. Nu-Guard 31 has also passed the Test Level 4 crash test (eight tonne truck at 80kph at 15 degree angle) and CSP Pacific are just waiting on the FHWA approval letter from the US.

“This means the Nu-Guard 31 guardrail system will withstand impact by heavy vehicles as well as cars. And it’s highly price-competitive – our clients will be able to get Level 4 technology for the same price as Level 3 when approval comes through.”

To date, the company has installed two kilometres of Nu-Guard 31 in the South Island, and has also taken the technology to Melbourne, where Beeby has high hopes for its uptake.

“The projects that we’ve completed already using the Turchi 260S have been put forward for the next road safety awards. The next challenge is to make sure we can accommodate the more rigorous standards on the other side of the Tasman, and get the ball rolling over there.”  


Contractor Vol.32  No.7  August 2008
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