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Development of a PCB Steel Cover Plate for Large Open Joints - Phase 1




Sagheer Ranjha, Mojdeh Asadollahipajouh, Scott Rosenbaugh, Bob Bielenberg




Portable concrete barriers (PCBs) are commonly used to protect work-zone personnel and to shield motorists from hazards in construction areas. It is not uncommon to encounter longitudinal gaps within PCB installations due to the practice of constructing and connecting the barriers from different ends during setup or contractor operations. Longitudinal gaps can also be created due to tensioning issues following an impact event. These gaps can range from 6 in. to a full barrier segment length of 12.5 ft. Longitudinal gaps between adjacent installations of PCB systems pose a serious safety concern for the errant motorist.

The objective of this research study was to brainstorm, develop, and evaluate design concepts for shielding the longitudinal gaps that occur between adjacent installations of PCB systems. Among candidate design concepts, two concepts including (1) thrie beam and toe plate design, and (2) two-piece cover plate were selected for simulation and further investigation and refinement. LS-DYNA analysis was used to evaluate the performance of the designs under MASH TL-3 impacts. Based on simulation results and input from the Midwest Pooled Fund Program member states the design concept of the thrie-beam rail with toe plate was recommended for further evaluation. Additional simulations were conducted to refine this design concept and determine critical impact points for full-scale crash testing. The final design consisted of two nested 12.5-ft long, 12-gauge thrie-beam with a ⅝-in. thick toe plate and three welded, ¼-in. stiffeners between the two thrie-beam rails. Recommendations were provided for evaluating the proposed PCB gap spanning design through two MASH TL-3 full-scale crash tests.


Highway Safety, Crash Test, Roadside Appurtenances, Compliance Test, MASH, Portable Concrete Barrier, Work Zones

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