ZG vs Concrete
In the US, portable concrete barriers have long been the foremost used barrier systems for highway and road construction projects. Concrete's effectiveness in creating safe work zones cannot be questioned. However, as the road construction industry evolves, so do project management and purchasing methods. Leveraging the advantages of renting specialized equipment for project completion, engineers and project managers now understand the cost of ownership of depreciating materials such as concrete barrier. When deciding which barrier to use for a project, engineers generally ask two questions. Does it meet safety standards? How much does it cost?
Zoneguard® has been tested and accepted by FHWA to NCHRP 350 and MASH TL-3 and TL-4; it is approved in 30 states and actively pursuing approval in the remaining states. Furthermore, Zoneguard®'s configuration and light weight enable 750' to be shipped on one truckload and up to 1,000' installed per hour. This means truck entries to and exits from the work zone are reduced by over 80%, and installation time drastically minimized. Consequently, Zoneguard® meets the same crash test standards as concrete and also mitigates safety concerns associated with barrier delivery and installation.
Undeniably, most supply purchasing decisions come down to price, and on the surface, concrete seems like the most inexpensive option. Concrete barrier is significantly less costly to produce than steel barrier, this is fact. However, as you analyze the cost of purchasing and using concrete barrier, the associated expenses paint a different picture. First, consider the costs that are incurred throughout one project. While one truck can transport 750' of Zoneguard®, it can only haul 120' of concrete at most, meaning a 700' job would require only one truck of Zoneguard®, compared to six trucks of concrete. Immediately, there is a significant cost savings in transportation by using Zoneguard®. One of the priciest expenditures in a project budget is labor. The ability to install up to 1000' of Zoneguard® per hour, decreases installation time tenfold and as a result, labor costs are cut.
Over the past few decades, the highway and road construction industry has realized the cost of ownership of certain materials and moved toward renting specialized equipment on a per project basis. This is logical considering the costs associated with storing and maintaining supplies and equipment that often go unused. Portable barrier is seemingly the last product to make this transition. Many construction companies and general contractors purchase concrete barrier because of its attractive upfront price, but neglect other expenses incurred during its life cycle. Not only does purchasing concrete barrier result in higher transportation and labor costs during projects, it necessitates storage and eventually, disposal. Each of which is not particularly cheap. Finally, when the lifespan of concrete barrier is approximately 5 years (depending upon usage), its purchase doesn't necessarily constitute a long-term barrier solution.
After evaluation, the advantages of renting the extensively tested and cost efficient steel barrier system, Zoneguard®, become clear. Designed to protect highway travelers, as well as road and construction crews, Zoneguard® offers maximum safety standards, while traditional portable barrier systems are costly, heave to transport and handle, time-consuming and do not provide the energy-absorbing capabilities of Zoneguard®.
Rent vs Buy
The highway construction industry is a fiscally competitive landscape, in which the lowest bidder wins. General contractors search for ways to cut project costs – some of these costs involve temporary barrier. Zoneguard®, the most cost-effective and durable barrier on the market, offers contractors two options: rent or buy (or both).
Renting Zoneguard® allows contractors to eliminate the costs of ownership, which frees up cash flow, creates space physically and financially, and eases project logistics. Rental rates are determined by the amount of barrier rented and the rental duration, and are provided at a Per Linear Foot/Per Day price.
Buying Zoneguard® is a significant investment on the frontend. While Zoneguard®’s purchase price is quite higher than temporary concrete barrier, its light weight and durability lead to substantial savings over the life of the product. Purchase prices are determined by the amount of barrier purchased and are provided at a Per Linear Foot price.
Built in USA
Zoneguard® steel barrier is cut, stamped and welded right here in the United States. Made from American steel, Zoneguard® is fabricated and shaped in Canton, OH. It is then shipped to Columbus, OH to be galvanized and for final assembly.
Upon completion, Zoneguard® is shipped to a number of depots across the country for distribution. Whether you are complying with bureaucratic requirements or choosing to support American-made products, rest assured, Zoneguard® steel barrier is built for America, in America.
ZG is Green
Without question, sustainability is now a decision making tool in the construction and design industry. However, there are often little or no environmental regulations specified by State DOT’s for greener highway project operations. Nevertheless, the green advantage of using Zoneguard® as a temporary barrier solution is worth stating.
In comparing the environmental impact of Zoneguard® to that of portable concrete barrier, three factors were considered: the environmental impact of producing steel and concrete, fuel consumption involved with barrier transportation, and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions involved with barrier transportation.
According to a 2006 study by the MIT Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, based on three targeted environmental impacts (CO2 emissions, Energy Consumption, and Resource Depletion) comparing steel to concrete, steel is a ‘better’ and more sustainable building material. It further stated, “Steel is the clear ‘winner’ in CO2 emissions and resource depletion, with 25% less total CO2 emission and 68% less total natural resources used.” Based on these findings, steel is a more sustainable material than concrete, prior to use.
While the abovementioned factor is considered debatable by some, the following factors are certain and move beyond the complicated process of comparing the products’ materials. In comparing the CO2 emissions and fuel consumption involved with transporting Zoneguard® and concrete barrier, the single most important dynamic is product weight. At 60 lbs. per foot, Zoneguard® is seven times lighter than concrete barrier, which allows 750 linear feet of Zoneguard® to be hauled on one truck. In most states, the average amount of concrete barrier that is hauled on one truck is approximately 100 linear feet.
According to the EPA’s website, the average amount of CO2 emissions from a gallon of diesel fuel is 22 lbs/gallon. Assuming flatbeds get an average six miles per gallon, a 100 mile haul uses 16.7 gallons of diesel fuel. If a project required 3,750 linear feet of temporary barrier, Zoneguard® would require ten trucks/hauls (return and delivery), while portable concrete barrier would require approximately 76 trucks/hauls. When the distance from the barrier’s storage location to the jobsite is the same, 100 miles, the total amount of CO2 emitted hauling Zoneguard is 3,670 lbs, while 27,892 lbs of CO2 would be emitted hauling concrete barrier. Additionally, the amount of fuel consumed hauling Zoneguard® would be 167 gallons, compared to the 1,269 gallons hauling concrete barrier.
Is sustainability a deciding factor when choosing a temporary barrier for a highway project? Not likely. However, as humans’ impact on the environment is progressively scrutinized, the comparison is worth making for potential future regulations and/or incentives by federal and statewide agencies.