Understanding Incidental Traffic Rated Access Covers

Incidental H20 vs. H20 Traffic

It is important to understand the difference between “incidental” H20 and AASHTO H20 traffic rated covers (also referred to as “Full Traffic” or “Full H20”).  “Incidental” traffic is an industry term that is not recognized by AASHTO.  A cover with an incidental traffic rating is designed to bear the weight of a non moving load and engineered without an impact factor.  AASHTO H20 traffic ratings are designed to withstand moving traffic and require engineering of a 30% impact factor.

Jensen MetalTech defines the term “incidental” as “for use in off-street locations where not subject to high density traffic” and omits the 30% impact factor in the design of the cover.  This is a common practice for cover manufacturers even though they may use different terminology.

Example of different loading scenarios for access covers


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