New York State Local Technical Assistance Program

Can we use existing rustic box beam in stock to replace rusting rustic box beam?

rusty guide rail

The use of A588 steel (AKA: rustic, Corten, “self-oxidizing”, or “self-weathering”) for highway and median barriers has been discontinued by the NYSDOT since September 2008 (EI 07-029). The use of A588 steel is no longer an approved specification. Engineering Instruction 08-016, superseded EI 07-029 with the intent to implement guidance on galvanized guiderail and it recommended alternatives in environmentally sensitive areas to be used to replace runs made from A588 steel. There should be a plan in place to remove and replace these rustic rail systems by March 2018.

The reason for this is that the remaining service life cannot adequately be determined, resulting in potential safety liability and threat to the travelling public, despite its adequate appearance. The goal is to remove a rustic rail systems within a 10-year period beginning in the 08-09 fiscal year and to be completed in the 17-18 fiscal year.

If you have rustic rail, the replacement process should be prioritized to the greatest hazards first. While the rustic rail is to be eliminated, maintenance replacement of crash-damaged pieces is acceptable if it is of the same type of rail as the damaged run, for as long as suitable A588 rail and posts are available in stock. This assumes that the rustic rail run has been inspected and determined adequate until its replacement can be made.

In addition, it is presumed that if a section of the rail run is deteriorating, then most of the rail run is deteriorating. Therefore, it is recommended that the entire run be replaced with galvanized rail, or the run be made unnecessary and removed.

If the existing system rail has been inspected and can be verified to be adequate and the stock pieces can be verifiably adequate, the stock pieces may be used as replacement parts. However, it should also be noted that stored rail can deteriorate just as quickly as the rail in service, and depending on how they are stacked may deteriorate even quicker. Check the cost associated with replacing sections of the rustic rail and the cost of replacing it in the near future. It may make better financial sense to replace the run now in lieu of repairing now and replacing in the next year or two. Regardless, there should be a plan in place to remove and replace these rustic rail systems by March 2018. The liability associated with having the systems of rails will substantially increase after that period.


Engineering Instructions, Bulletins and Directives

Highway Design Manual. Chapter 10: Roadside Design, Guide Rail and Appurtenances

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