Lattix - the first and still the safest passive sign mast
Editorial 1 - Masterful System
We reported in Highways September 2001 about the financial and safety benefits of the Lattix energy absorbent sign mast system from Signfix.
At that time there had been a modest number of installations in England, most notably in Cheshire where Neil Theobald, principal engineer, traffic and transportation at Cheshire County Council had adopted the concept and benefits of passive safety.
In the intervening period, Lattix has come of age, having been approved by the Highways Agency and similar governmental bodies in the UK and Ireland on over 37 schemes although Alan Nicholas, sales director at Signfix was quick to identify one scheme in particular, the A43 Silverstone / Towcester By Pass as a turning point.
He commented: "Prior to the A43, Lattix had been very successful in Scandinavia for more than 10 years but installed only spasmodically in the UK so we really needed a high profile project to focus peoples attention."
The project eventually won Highways Agency backing following a ground breaking design proposal from Andy Pledge and his team at consultant Mott MacDonald in Winchester . Pledge, in outlining the case for Lattix, said: "Lattix provided us with a unique opportunity to reduce costs for our client and introduce safety and aesthetic considerations into an extremely important strategic route."
"The Highways Agency had targeted this road because of its previously poor safety record and we strongly believed that Lattix provided the safest option available for our signage scheme," he added.
The National Roads Authority in Ireland also valued Lattix for its safety features and installed over 50 throughout the country on their high profile speed awareness campaign.
Another milestone for Lattix came in November 2001 when the first R/T/A involving a Lattix installation took place on the A404(M) in Berkshire. Thames Valley Police reported that a Ford Mondeo with 3 passengers had hit a Lattix mast at approximately 40mph causing relatively minor damage at impact point but more significantly no injuries to the vehicles occupants.
The accident not only confirmed the manufacturers claims regarding the products design performance but it also bought home the reality of its injury reducing and life saving potential.
Although such safety considerations rank highly with all specifying bodies it has been the financial benefits of installing Lattix that have driven its inclusion on so many schemes.
Alan Nicholas again commented: "Consultants and traffic engineers are constantly trying to stretch budgets or get the best deal for their client so a product that links innovation to cost savings is an ideal scenario and by using Lattix, which removes the need for crash barriers they are in a win / win situation."
Lattix is now a regular consideration on new road contracts, resigning schemes and safety projects in the traffic signage market but recent developments have seen Lattix being considered for additional uses such as traffic monitoring camera masts and lightweight gantries.