Steel Road Plates
Steel road plates represent a simple method of bridging open excavations and trenches – dug for cables, gas mains, water mains, drainage and similar purposes.
The most popular sizes of road plates (2500 x 1250 x 12mm and 2500 x 1250 x 20mm) are available on a next-day delivery service from Maltaward. 12mm thick road plates are most commonly used for pedestrians and light vehicle access, whilst 20mm and 25mm thick options are more suitable for heavy-duty vehicle traffic.
These highly versatile safety covers have been manufactured to be robust, resilient, weatherproof, and durable. Road plates are suitable for a multitude of civil engineering uses such as road maintenance and repairs and can serve as temporary covers for potholes and pavement defects.Request a Quote
Road Plate Features & Specifications
Our steel road plates are made of mild carbon steel and come in a range of thicknesses and gauges to suit different usage requirements. 12mm steel road plates are typically used for pedestrian access and lighter vehicles, while 20-25mm variants are recommended for handling standard and heavier vehicle traffic. However, our road plate products are not exclusively used to aid traffic flow; they can be used in a variety of construction projects as well as demolition works.
All standard road plates feature profiled holes (known as road plate lifting eyes) in each corner to allow for fixing down with chains for easier handling when placing and removing the plates. Please note that due to the measurements, dimensions, and weight of these items, multiple personnel or specialist machinery are generally required for transportation and installation.
We also offer road plates with anti-skid and anti-slip finishes to enhance surface traction if needed. Additionally, bespoke options are available if you require non-standard sizing or drilled holes.
See the product range details below:
Standard Road Plate Specifications
- Dimensions: 2500mm x 1250mm
- Thickness: 12mm, 20mm and 25mm
- Weight: Varies by thickness
- Corner lifting holes
- Available with anti-skid or anti-slip coatings (enquire for details)
BAA Specification Road Plates
Our BAA-approved road plates are specially certified for airside use at major UK airports like London Heathrow and Gatwick, among others. As airport-passed and approved contractors, Maltaward offers airside and landside delivery and collection services.
- Steel road plate dimensions: 3000mm x 1500mm x 25mm
- Bevel edged (45 degrees)
- Precision counter-bored fixing holes
- Weight: 883kg
- Built-in locking lift system for safe, efficient handling
- Durable anti-slip surface coating
- Blackened and sealed options with a two-pack system are available if needed
Oversize & Bespoke Road Plates
- Custom road plate sizing up to 6000mm x 3000mm (25mm thickness)
- Additional holes or bevelled edges are available
Please enquire with our team if you would like to order larger or bespoke size road plates.
- Steel road plate dimensions: 1250mm x 1250mm x 6mm
- Weight: 70kg
How to Handle Road Plates
Our standard road plates include four pre-drilled corner holes for attaching lifting chains to manoeuvre the plates with the help of site machinery. BAA-approved heavy-duty airside models feature specialised central slots and purpose-built locking lift systems for fast, safe handling.
Please note that due to the extreme weight involved, mechanical assistance is generally required for transportation and positioning.
Uses for Steel Road Plates
Carbon steel road plates are designed to allow heavy traffic and large vehicles to cross numerous different sites with varying capacities. You can usually find steel plates used for:
- Excavation projects
- Construction sites
- Utility maintenance
- Demolition sites
- Events with high levels of condensed foot traffic
If you need any advice on whether a steel road plate is suitable for an upcoming project, please contact our team and we will be happy to assist you.
Maltaward does not provide loading data specifications on our road plates. It is the customer’s responsibility to validate sufficient load capacity for the application. If there is any uncertainty around the suitability of your road plates’ load capacity, we recommend that you consult a structural engineer prior to placing your order.
Please also note that due to the nature of this product, sizes may be marginally different to those advertised or in images. For an accurate steel plate sizing please liaise with one of our team before ordering your product(s).
Other Important Factors that Must be Considered
Integrity and Bearing Capacity of Bearing Ground
The ground must be assessed by the user/installer of the road plate to determine that the ground itself has sufficient strength to support the loads that will be acting upon it. This is especially important as, by its nature, a road plate will be next to an opening, gap, or excavation where the ground may be particularly sensitive to loading and prone to collapse.
Strength of Excavation Shoring
When using road plates over a shored excavation, the additional load caused by the crossing traffic must be accounted for in the design of the shoring. Ensure that the shoring engineer is aware of the use of road plates and that an additional surcharge has been added to the shoring design to account for traffic. If in doubt, ask!
Type of Mounting
Road plates can either be surface mounted or recess mounted. The mounting is important in order to resist lateral loads, decrease noise generation and reduce discomfort for road users. Refer to DoT document Traffic Advisory Leaflet 6/14 for a more detailed of selection of mounting.
Imposing a Weight Restriction and Consideration of Special-Order Vehicles
In most cases, the 19mm road plate will not be suitable for use on public highways for trenches over 700mm wide because at greater spans, the road plate does not meet the strength requirements for normal highway loading (Refer to BD 21/01). The tables above show the maximum safe loads that can be applied. Special order vehicles and some heavier HGVs may exceed the loadings stated above.
Whether the road plate is used on a highway or on a private access road, it is important that a weight restriction corresponding with the safe loads in the table above are clearly in place during operation.
High speed impacts and braking forces can introduce lateral loading that can overcome the fixings/mounting that is holding the plate in place. Temporary speed restrictions, signage and other means should be used to limit the potential for excessive speed of traffic to damage or dislodge the road plates. Refer to DoT document Traffic Advisory Leaflet 6/14 for more detailed information.
Road Plate Loading
Specific design calculations must be conducted for road plate loadings from a qualified professional. No liability is accepted for reliance on the following information, cited by Tony Gould (2015) in his technical blog.
Basis for Design
A simplified load model has been applied that aims to satisfy the general conditions for safety required by the codes of practice (e.g. EN1991-2 and EN199302). Certain elements of this simplified model have been taken from EN1991-2, such as the spacing of patch loads to represent the force transmitted to the plate through a vehicle’s tyres.
Load model 1, from EN1991-2 shows a tandem drive axle loading, with a spacing of 2m in the width and 1.2m in the length and an area of the contact with the deck being a 0.4m by 0.4m square. As a simplification, the patch loads have been treated as point loads in this document.
A standard road plate is 1220mm x 2440mm and 19mm thick. Steel grade is generally unknown but assumed to be equivalent to S275 grade for structural purposes. For verification, the road plate shall be modelled as an equivalent beam according to EN1993-1-7:2007 184.108.40.206.2 (1).
Allowable Loading on a Road Plate
The load model, outlined in figure 2-1 above, shows how the bending effect is calculated for varying widths of trench. The road plate is treated as being simply supported with knife edge supports at the mid-width of the overlap to account for bedding material (shown in the diagram as Ss/2). Refer to DoT document Traffic Advisory Leaflet 6/14 for further details on minimum bedding width. This document recommends that the minimum overlaps be 500mm.
In most cases, the vehicle that is crossing the road plate will be too large to cross a single plate, and so multiple plates will be used side by side as shown in figure 2-3 below. In these cases, the load is spread across two adjacent plates and only a half-axle load is applied to each of the two plates.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are road plates and what are they used for?
Can road plates be surface treated?
Do you provide loading data for your plates?