Brilliant Roadway Design: Australia’s Water Curtain Stop Signs

Sydney Harbour Tunnel

The Sydney Harbour Tunnel in Sydney, Australia has seen its fair share of bridge strikes in past years, causing traffic delays, reconstruction delays and injury. In response to these high-cost accidents, the Sydney Transit Authority called upon Australian Laser beam company Laservision to create a brand new driver intervention system called Softstop to help with the bridge strike problem. Laservision has developed a larger-than-life stop sign that projects the classic red and white “STOP” on a cascading waterfall at the entry to the Sydney Harbour Tunnel. When a truck is too tall and comes too close to the tunnel entrance, a water curtain bursts from the ceiling of the bridge and a projection of lasers place “STOP” on the waterfall.

These crashes not only close the tunnel for weeks at a time, but also put other drivers on the road in considerable danger and destroy tractor-trailers entirely. As the cost of damages, delays, and fear of injury grew, the Sydney Transit Authority made a decision to implement a better safeguard.

The Softstop functions as a last resort warning for drivers. There are countless signs noting the height of the tunnel and its proximity, as well as bright light warnings leading up to the tunnel entrance. If a driver’s truck is too tall for the tunnel,  it seems almost impossible to avoid the warnings coming from every variety of flashing light and noise alert before the truck approaches the intrance. If these flashing lights are ignored, the Softstop is activated. This video from 10 News shows the extensive signage before the tunnel, and what the water-curtain looks like in full form.

http://youtu.be/NoTMC-uxJoo

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