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High Friction Surfacing
Introduction and system guide

High friction surfacing (HFS) is a coating applied to road surfaces which imparts a high level of skid resistance onto a road surface. Developed over 60 years ago the first applications used an epoxy resin binder and the systems were known as anti-skid surfacing. There were several problems with the epoxy based systems as they were difficult to use and had a very narrow installation window due to their reliance on specific weather conditions. Through-out the 1980s and early 1990s epoxy systems began to be replaced with hot-melt (rosin ester) systems and MMA (Methyl methacrylate) products however over the last 10 years it has become apparent that hot-melt systems have many downsides including their failure rate. Uretech HFS is a polyurea system which is BBA HAPAS approved an environmental innovation award winner and has a proven application lifespan of over ten years.

High friction surfaces are used primarily for restoring or enhancing the skid resistance of a pavement surface, but can also be used for lane delineation, bike paths, traffic calming, or for decorative purposes. Areas where high friction or anti-skidding properties are desired, include:

Accident blackspots
Horizontal Curves and Ramps
Junctions & Approaches
Steep Grade hills
Bus Stops
Pedestrian Walkways
Bridge Decks
Pavement Surfaces Susceptible to Icing

HFS System Types
There are four main types of high friction surfacing system and the following table lists the positives and negatives of each system type.

How does HFS work?
The skid resistance on a high friction surface is created by the calcined bauxite aggregate. The Calcined bauxite aggregate is manufactured to achieve exceptional resistance to abrasion caused by vehicle tyres combined with a very high resistance to polishing (the aggregate becoming smooth).

Uretech HFS - PSV test certificate.
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Why should I use a High friction surface?
In the UK there is approximately two million square metres of high friction surfacing laid each year and this is largely down to its cost effectiveness. Tragic loss of life or serious injury has an immeasurable cost to the accident victims, their families and friends. Financially, there are major cost consequences for emergency services, local authorities and national governments. It is estimated that one fatality on a non-motorway road costs £1.4m and on a motorway £1.7m. The table below is courtesy of RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) and shows how HFS reduced accidents by 57% measured on 34 schemes and delivered a first year rate of return of 352%.

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When should I use high friction surfacing?
High friction surfacing should be used where there is high risk of accidents resulting from collisions between vehicles or between vehicles and pedestrians such as junctions, roundabouts and crossings.

Which roads can high friction surfacing be used on?
HFS can be used on all roads, from single track, unclassified roads to high speed urban routes, trunk roads and motorways can and have been successfully treated.

How do the types of high friction surface differ?
As well as the differences in material type as listed above, high friction surfacing is also graded by the BBA (British Board of Agrément) in a scheme referred to as HAPAS (Highway Authorities Product Approval Scheme). HAPAS categorises systems as type 1, 2 and 3, where type-1 has attained the highest performance level and type 3 the lowest performance level. All comply with Clause 924 of the Specification for Highways Works.

The use of High friction surfacing is an established, proven process for saving lives by introducing the highest level of skid resistance onto any road surface. It is an extremely cost effective solution when compared to the value prevention by avoiding collision related fatalities.

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