Installed costs vary according to the quantity of material to be installed and the site location for the project. Most projects are solicited as “turnkey,” meaning they including materials, labor, equipment, and traffic control. Project costs range from $21/yd2 to $26/yd2 as of 2017. However, the cost per square yard has been steadily decreasing for larger projects and where smaller projects have been bundled with other safety-related items. In addition, only including work pertinent to the HFST project, and therefore increasing the chance of contracting directly with an established installer, can help reduce costs. In general, unless unavoidable, HFST projects should be stand-alone and not added onto paving or other related work through prime contracts, as the unit price for HFST can increase because of the additional percentages added by the general contractor.
A 2017 project for Georgia DOT with multiple locations in 16 counties that totaled 1,200,000 yd2 cost on average $21.00/yd2. Multiple projects in California, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and New Jersey were priced in the same range. Some of these projects included the total project cost in the unit prices, including mobilization, traffic control, striping, remedial crack sealing, and, in some cases, patching.
Many scenarios within an HFST contract can contribute to the cost of the project. The larger the scope of the project, the lower the cost per yd2 will be. The same is true with the proximity of locations to be treated within a project. The closer locations are within a project, the more work the contractor can perform within each production day. Other items for consideration are the cost of excessive material testing and testing of friction values on a new HFST installation. Time constraints on project duration are often necessary to keep traffic flowing during construction, but most actual HFST production happens during short windows. The larger the window allowed for each production day the lower the cost will be. Keep in mind the cost of the polymer resin binder, equipment, and labor are the significant project bid drivers, not the cost of the aggregate.
A recent before-and-after study for a series of curve installations by the South Carolina DOT indicates cost-benefit ratios of about 24 to 1. A recent study by Villanova University that assessed 122 rural two-lane roadway locations in Pennsylvania where HFST was installed between 2007 and 2015 shows a benefit-cost ratio range from 48 to as high as 105.