Messagemaker delivers low power lane control solution in Cardiff

Messagemaker Displays has supplied its low power LED Lane Control signs to VVB Engineering for installation as part of the A470 Tidal Flow system in Cardiff.

Replacing existing ageing and faulty signage, and integrating with the existing UTC management software, the signs provided a low maintenance, fit and forget solution.

The longest road in Wales, the A470 provides a crucial link between the north and south of the country. The North Road stretch of the A470 is a busy, dual carriageway in Cardiff city centre with a high level of traffic flowing through the area daily. The control signs in place at North Road consisted of three separate gantries, each holding six signs – three primary and three secondary.

For fail safe operation, all 18 signs at the site needed to be functional at all times for the system. If one or more unit failed, the entire system would be forced into failsafe mode, meaning that traffic restrictions were imposed on the road, which in turn created congestion. 

The signs were frequently failing due to water ingress – so the failsafe mode was often activated, and the entire system affected. Furthermore, as a result of the age of the signs, it was becoming difficult and costly to repair and maintain them. Every time a sign failed engineers from VVB would need to either close a lane or the entire road in order to access and remove the failed sign. 

As a result, the decision was made to replace the signs. However, it was crucial that the new signage could integrate with the existing Urban Traffic Control management software used by the controllers.

LED signage expert, Messagemaker Displays Ltd, was approached to provide a new solution. Following discussions with VVB, the team designed and built a new set of high-quality LED signs that would work in conjunction with the UTC software. Each sign provides the ability to display:

  • A green arrow in the direction open to traffic
  • A red cross facing the direction closed to traffic
  • White directional arrows, coupled with amber wig wags as a ‘move over’ signal.

The LEDs used in the new signs are rated to work for at least 100,000 hours, equating to a life cycle of more than 11 years. Messagemakers’ Lane Control signs also offer a high contrast ratio for optimum visibility and the optical lens technology eliminates glare and light pollution. Each sign has a lightweight aluminium casing that is IP65 rated, while the energy efficient system within generates minimal heat, preventing the need for cooling or defogging equipment.

“By securing a solution that integrated easily with our existing UTC control system we were able to avoid replacing the entire control system and all the adjoining cabling,” said Tom Peregreen, Senior Project Engineer at VVB. “This has saved a significant amount of work and associated costs for us and the local council.”

“We are confident that the signs we have supplied will provide the durability and longevity required by VVB at this site,” commented Santosh Surabi, Technical Director at Messagemaker Displays. “As the new signs require little to no maintenance over their life cycle, this means less contractors working on the roads, so reducing the risk of harm.”

(Picture – Messagemaker Displays)


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