Pros and Cons Of Various Types Of Barriers

Pros and Cons Of Various Types Of Barriers

A head on crash is very harsh when compared to other types of highway crashes. It takes just a few seconds for vehicles moving at highway speed to cross the median and collide with the vehicles from the other side of the lane. Median barriers are effective in separating the opposing traffic flows of a road physically. It also helps to stop vehicles moving into the opposite lane accidentally and to avoid pedestrians crossing the road at risky places. In 2006 there were 821 median cross over accidents that resulted in fatalities on U.S National highway system alone.

The factors that influence the selection of a obstacle system are the kind of the vehicles involved, roadway geometry and the possible severity of any head on crash incident. In most locations a standard obstacle capable of redirecting the vehicles to the right area would suffice. However, in locations with complicate geometry, negative environmental conditions, heavy truck traffic and high traffic volumes and speeds, a obstacle with high performance is necessary.

There are basically three categories of median barriers. They are detailed below,

stiff barriers

The most shared kind of the median obstacle in use today is the concrete barriers.


– They are widely used because of their maintenance free characteristics, low life cycle cost and safety performance.
– They are very effective in avoiding means crossover collision on accident inclined regions with high traffic volumes and speed.
– They can also be used in areas where the required median widths to install other types of barriers is not obtainable.

– Jersey obstacle is a modular concrete obstacle that allows the vehicles to collide on its lower slopped confront, pivoting it back in its original direction.

– comparatively the installation cost of stiff barriers is high.

Semi stiff barriers

It is otherwise called as guardrail or guiderail. These rails are made of metals and they are collected in segments supported by posts or blocks.


– Unlike stiff barriers, semi stiff barriers are designed to absorb more energy from the impact and the complete assembly move or deflect during the crash. Hence, lesser damage to the means.
– Installation cost is less.


– They are only appropriate in the areas that are not sloppy and have good soil condition.
– The cost of the repair following an impact is high.

Cable barriers

Typically it consists of multiple cables that are connected to each other in a series of posts.


– It is the most versatile and forgiving obstacle system in minimizing the median crossover crashes. This absorbs most of the energy of the impact and reduces the forces exerted on the vehicles and its occupants.


– important time and cost must be spent maintaining, endangering motorists and workers during each repair.

The other factors that are considered before deciding the obstacle kind are road alignment, crash history and the number of lanes.

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