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Evaluation of a Non-Proprietary, High-Tension, Four-Cable Median Barrier on Level Terrain




Leah Kampschneider, Daniel Homan, Karla Lechtenberg, Ronald Faller, Bob Bielenberg, Dean Sicking, John Reid, Scott Rosenbaugh




During the last decade, the use of cable median barriers has risen dramatically. Cable barriers are often utilized in depressed medians with widths ranging from 30 to 50 ft (9.1 to 15.2 m) and with fill slopes as steel as 4H:1V. A careful review of accident records has indicated that passenger vehicles occasionally penetrate through the standard three-cable median barrier and enter opposing traffic lanes. As a result, the Midwest States Regional Pooled Fund Program sponsored a research and development project to improve the safety performance of existing, non-proprietary, cable median barriers. These safety improvements included increased cable spacing, increased cable height, the use of four cables, increased cable tension, and optimized keyway bolts. For this study, one Test Level 3 (TL-3) full-scale crash test was performed on the improved high-tension, four-cable median barrier according to the Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH). The cable barrier system was configured with cable heights of 13 1/2 in. (343 mm), 24 in. (610 mm), 34 1/2 in. (876 mm), and 45 in. (1,143 mm) above the ground surface. The improved barrier system was intended to satisfy impact safety standards when placed on either a 4H:1V slope or on a level terrain. Because barrier penetration was a prime concern, the crash test utilized a 1500A full-sized passenger sedan to impact the barrier in order to investigate the significance of the 10 1/2-in. (267-mm) cable spacing. The vehicle was contained by the barrier, but significant damage occurred to the occupant compartment. As such, the results from the crash test did not meet the MASH impact safety standards.


Highway Safety, Crash Test, Roadside Appurtenances, Compliance Test, MASH, High Tension, Four-Cable, Cable Barrier, Median Barrier

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