It has been shown that congestion caused by road and street works can be reduced by using road plates over trenches and openings to allow carriageways to be opened to traffic during the works period. Wheel loading and trafficking tests were carried out on six types of road plate - two for large transverse trenches, two for linear trenches and two for large rectangular openings. The tests investigated the speed and ease of installation, removal and replacement of the plates, the effect of their height relative to the road surface on the speed at which they could be trafficked, and the effect of wheel loading on their performance. The findings from the tests, site investigations and a literature review were used to develop guidance on when and how road plates can be used to reduce congestion. The factors covered in the guidance include the size, weight and handling of plates, the effect of surface mounting or recessing plates on vehicle speed and fixing, wheel loading requirements and deflection criteria, skid resistance requirements, shoring excavations, the effect of road profile and the need for bedding materials, pedal and motor cyclist and pedestrian considerations, the size of handling devices in plates and gaps between plates, winter service considerations, signing, lighting and markings, noise and environmental factors, and inspection and maintenance. The report also examines the cost benefits to be gained.

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