Live Oak Canyon / Trabuco Canyon Road Highway Safety Project
Live Oak Canyon Road and Trabuco Canyon Road are two-lane rural, windy, canyon roadways within unincorporated County of Orange, known for its series of vertical and horizontal curves with limited recovery areas for errant vehicles. In fact, the sharp curvatures and tree canopy have been featured in commercials and cinema to showcase the handling of sports cars. But for typical drivers, within a 10-year span between January 2002 and January 2012, there were 245 collisions and several fatalities within the project limits. These collisions could be counter-measured with improvements compatible with a rural roadway, making this 4.6-mile project an ideal candidate to enhance highway safety for motorists utilizing SB1 and Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funding.
The Project consists of rehabilitating existing pavement, overlaying the pavement with a High Friction Surface Treatment (HFST), installation of guardrail, center rumble strips, upgrade signage and other appurtenant improvements particularly around sharp curves. HFST involves the application of very high-quality aggregate to the pavement using a polymer binder to restore and/or maintain pavement friction at existing or potentially high crash areas. The higher pavement friction helps motorists maintain better control in both dry and wet driving conditions.
HFST application is unique in its ability to address site-specific issues. HFST restores pavement surface friction and help compensate for inadequate geometric designs such as sharp curves. HFST can also enhance the ability of a road surface to provide pavement friction to vehicles in critical braking or cornering maneuvers. Maintaining the appropriate amount of pavement friction is critical for safe driving condition. The advantages for HFST as compared to traditional safety treatments or roadway realignment, are 1) it requires less geometric improvements which may impact private property owners or right-of-way acquisitions, 2) shorter construction duration and minimize roadway closures during construction, 3) minimal environmental impacts or footprint in the rural setting, and 4) lower cost compared to the traditional geometric improvements. Shortening the construction duration reduces idling of vehicles and gas emissions.
Live Oak/Trabuco Canyon Road is the County’s first HFST application, setting precedence for future safety projects. Baseline data points for collisions and speeds, and skid tests prior to the project will be used as comparison to post project data points. Protecting the safety of the community on our roadways is part of the County’s mission.