Traffic Bollards Aren’t What They Used to Be
Traffic bollards are used in urban areas to guide traffic and protect human life. However, despite their benefits, some city governments still resist using them on large scales. Historically this has been the case in New York City, although this has changed somewhat over the last decade. Some of the reasons for this reluctance to use bollards include:
- The belief that they may impede those with visual and mobility limitations.
- Concerns over them interfering with snow plowing.
- Worries about damage to vehicles that strike them.
To address these issues, modern traffic bollards are mounted in a number of ways, including:
- Fixed – where they are intended as permanent fixtures. In such cases, they are installed in one of two different ways: by drilling bolt holes into the surrounding concrete and securing the bollard to the surface by using inserts fed through the openings or by excavating several feet deep, inserting a bollard of considerable length, then pouring concrete around it to ground level. The first method is used in areas where access isn’t tightly controlled. The second is employed at locations where the danger of sabotage or terrorist activities is significant, such as around nuclear power facilities and military installations.
- Removable – This setup incorporates an underground sleeve or other type of mounting that is set permanently in place. There is a gap at the top that allows the easy installation and removal of bollards for temporary purposes. Sometimes a locking mechanism is employed as well. These bollards are used at spots where access control needs vary at different times.
- Retractable – Sometimes bollards are needed on a regular basis at a location, but only at specific times of the day, week, or month. In such cases, retractable models are installed. The mechanism that raises and lowers these bollards may either be hydraulic or electrically driven; often a backup power source is included onsite so that the unit remains operable even if the area is suffering an electricity blackout.
The trend away from seeing traffic bollards only as permanent, immovable objects allows them to be used in new ways, all of which enhance public safety. So, it’s true that bollards aren’t what they used to be. In fact, they’re better than ever before.
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