Cable median barriers being installed to deter crashes, AHTD says

LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department will install cable median barriers designed to reduce the chances of vehicles crossing the median into oncoming traffic.

The barriers will be installed on more than 398 miles of Arkansas’ freeways and expressways over the next three years.

“Motorists can expect to see considerably more cable median barriers being installed across

the state beginning in early 2013,” AHTD Director Scott Bennett said in a news release. “These projects will be funded with Federal-aid Safety funds at an estimated cost of $74 million.”

Bids to install the first 92 miles of cable barriers will be received at the department’s letting

scheduled for Nov. 28.

Median crossover crashes occurring on highways are some of the most hazardous and

difficult types of crashes to predict, he said.

“When vehicles cross over to opposing lanes of traffic, the risk of fatal and serious injuries is very high since vehicles are often striking head-on and drivers in the opposing lanes have little or no warning that a vehicle is coming from such an unexpected direction. There is often little time for evasive actions,” he said.

A safety analysis of two projects that installed cable median barriers along Interstate 40 and Interstate 55 in Arkansas revealed a reduction in fatal median crossover crashes. The I-40 project location, located between Biscoe and Brinkley, had 10 fatal crashes in the 36 months before a cable median barrier was installed. In the 36 months after installation, the number of fatal crashes there dropped to zero. On Interstate 55,

the number of fatal crashes dropped from two to zero after installation of a cable barrier.

Cable median barriers are designed to redirect vehicles striking either side of the barrier.

The AHTD presently has cable median barriers in place on 37 miles of Arkansas highways.

An additional 68 miles are currently under construction.