Laying down road plates is essential if you're performing maintenance work, laying cables or otherwise disturbing a road or pavement surface that people use every day.

Until recently, steel plates were the only practical option that could support vehicles and allow them to pass over potholes, trenches and roadworks safely. But now, lightweight, heavy-duty plastic road plates offer a compelling alternative.
What are road plates used for? 

Steel plates are widely used by construction, infrastructure and utility firms to maintain road access and safety for vehicles and pedestrians.

Countless road plates are in use every day all over Australia and around the world, helping to avoid traffic congestion around roadworks and street works and minimising inconvenience.

These plates can also be installed on residential driveways or laid as tracks on construction sites to allow heavy vehicles and mobile equipment to pass safely over soft ground without getting stuck.
What are the problems of steel plates? 

When steel plates are properly used and maintained, they provide a safe substitute for road surfaces on a temporary basis. The danger comes when plates aren't properly fixed into place and can shift position, or aren't recessed and can cause jolts or even damage to lower profile tyres driving over them.

The time and money involved in laying and lifting steel plates can also be a hindrance for construction and utility firms, especially if many need to be deployed or moved around at the same time. These heavy plates need to be transported by trailer or crane, with a single plate often weighing over 500kg.

How can plastic plates help?

In recent years, a number of companies have developed plastic road plates made from composite materials to directly address problems identified with metal plates. Their chief advantages include:
  1. Easy deployment and storage – lightweight plastic road plates can be lifted into place by just 2 people in less than 30 minutes. They're also easy to stack when not in use.
  2. Saving money – companies can save on transport and installation costs, as no heavy lifting equipment is needed.
  3. Improving road safety – these plates are designed to be resistant to slipping, with tread surfaces improving grip for vehicles. Brighter colours can also make them more visible to motorists.
  4. More environmentally-friendly – with no heavy lifting equipment required, companies can cut their carbon emissions.
  5. Quieter – the plates' flexible edge dampens traffic sounds, making plastic plates more suitable for residential areas than noisy metal plates.
  6. More flexibility – many plastic road plates have a modular design that allows them to lock together securely in a range of configurations.
Which option is right for you? 

Steel plates are still the standard and readily available in a range of sizes. This makes them the more convenient option for most Australian companies today.

However, the many advantages of plastic road plates will likely see these products become much more widespread in the coming years. If your equipment hire company offers plastic plates, you can discuss the pros and cons to find the best option for your needs.

Hire plastic and steel plates today

Coates Hire stocks a wide selection of steel plates and lightweight plastic road plates in all standard sizes, suitable for all applications. Whether you're looking for slim 12mm road plates, heavy duty 25mm or 32mm thick plates for heavy vehicles or skid resistant plates, talk to your local branch today. Find your nearest Coates Hire branch. 

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