There’s something reassuringly solid about steel road plates, great slabs of solid metal that remain visible throughout their use, and this is exactly the way it should be.
As a strong and rigid material, they’re capable of easily covering over trenches during roadworks and other excavations, or protecting cables and pipes in exposed channels until the work is completed.
Despite this strength, steel road plates have a very slim profile – made possible by the strength of the steel itself, which removes the need for a thicker layer of the material.
This means once they are in place, there’s only a very slightly noticeable change in the road surface, which may not be noticeable at all in larger vehicles or those with softer suspension.
Compare this with other methods of covering an exposed channel, and it’s easy to see why steel road plates are the go-to option for many applications.
For instance, lightweight road mats are often sold as an alternative – but these are easier to move out of place accidentally, and a mat that has gone askew risks falling into the trench, along with any vehicle passing over it at the time.
The same applies on pedestrian walkways, where lightweight mats are often seen shifted out of position, putting passers-by at greater risk of injury.
On top of that, mats made of lighter materials must be thicker in order to provide anywhere close to the strength of steel road plates, and this can create an unwelcome ramp effect.
This represents a trip hazard on pavements, and interrupts the flow of traffic on roads, potentially creating very long and slow tailbacks on normally high-speed roads.
As a close approximation of the road surface itself, steel road plates have always been the first choice, as well as being an eco-friendly way to use second hand steel in your engineering works.