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Crash Testing of South Dakota's Cable Guardrail to W-Beam Transition




Ronald Faller, Dean Sicking, John Rohde, Jim Holloway, Eric Keller, John Reid




A cable guardrail to W-beam transition system, used by the South Dakota Department of Transportation, was crash tested to determine whether the system meets current safety standards. The three-strand cable guardrail with reduced post spacing was attached to a standard W-beam guardrail which incorporated a breakaway cable terminal (BCT) on the upstream end. Three full-scale crash tests were successfully performed according to the Test Level 3 requirements specified in NCHRP Report 350: Recommended Procedures for the Safety Performance Evaluation of Highway Features. Two tests - one using a small car and one with a pickup truck - were used to evaluate the potential for vehicle snagging in the region where the cable guardrail transitions into the W-beam guardrail. One additional pickup truck crash test was performed to evaluate the potential for snagging and pocketing when the pickup impacts the cable guardrail upstream of the BCT terminal and deflects the cable guardrail such that the pickup contacts the terminal in a critical manner. The South Dakota cable guardrail to W-beam transition successfully met current safety standards and is recommended for use along the National Highway System.


Highway Safety, Guardrail, Roadside Appurtenances, Longitudinal Barrier, Approach Guardrail Transition, Crash Test, Compliance Test

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