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  • The future of highway barriers?

    Eighty-five miles of a new type of freeway barrier are being installed on I-10 between Houston and San Antonio — and it's made of high-strength steel cables rather than concrete. The Gibraltar Barrier System, made by a company in Burnet, got Federal Highway Administration approval last year as a median and roadside barrier, and officials say it will injure fewer people and cause less damage to vehicles in freeway crashes. Whereas old-style concrete barriers crunch and bounce cars, the Gibraltar cables give when they're hit, absorbing more of the impact. That didn't stop one motorist from worrying:

    "It's like putting a guitar string in the middle of the highway. It'll cut a truck wide open. It'll cut a car wide open. You think it'll cut a car wide open? Yeah it'll get somebody killed," said driver Bobby Ratliff.

    TxDOT said it's installing the cables, which cost about $100,000 a mile, in areas with high traffic and high accident rates. Though the installation is still in progress, the state reports 20 vehicles have already run into the new barriers.
    "Blue Oh-Two" (#424)
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  • #2
    $100K per mile? I'm in the wrong business...
    "Blue Oh-Two" (#424)
    Rick's header, Hondata gasket, Mugen thermostat/fan switch, Mugen radiator cap, Aussie mirror, Lucid's rear speakers, Alpine CDA-7893R & KCE-865B, Muz's saddlebag, Windscreen Light, Modifry's glove box organizer and lots of Zaino!

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    • #3
      i wouldnt be too confident crashing into one of those things

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      • #4
        but then agian...a concrete barrier is much scarier

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        • #5
          I'd much rather run into cables than concrete.


          S2KCA - The S2000 Club of America

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Ulrich
            $100K per mile? I'm in the wrong business...
            I'd be willing to bet that concrete barriers are almost as much.


            S2KCA - The S2000 Club of America

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            • #7
              Ok, we have a small section of that style barrier here in Colorado, and when I'm in my car I feel safe if i hit it, BUT I ride motorcylces way more often than I drive my car, and I'm scared Shitless when I pass by them, think if I were to crash here, those things would cut me in two. So I would much more perfer to slam into concrete on my bike, than slide under, or through those cables and into on-coming traffic. Way I see it is broken bones can be fixed, but body parts cant be reattached if they were cut off by a half inch of steal cable
              Just my two cents

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              • #8
                They just installed them along MOPAC in Austin, and they're ugly as hell. IMO, they solved a problem that didn't exist. I guess they had to figure out something new to waste our tax dollars on.
                Chris



                '13 Civic Si sedan
                '08 Ridgeline RTL
                '02 Z06

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                • #9
                  yep, stupid nannyist crowd....."if it only saves one life" yea but what about the cost of others.....

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                  • #10
                    We're having them installed all over Washington. They are already having complaints of loose cables. It seems that they need repair immediately after an accident, not several weeks later.
                    sigpic
                    Pacific Northwest Chapter Guru, 9 years running!


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Goku
                      Ok, we have a small section of that style barrier here in Colorado, and when I'm in my car I feel safe if i hit it, BUT I ride motorcylces way more often than I drive my car, and I'm scared Shitless when I pass by them, think if I were to crash here, those things would cut me in two. So I would much more perfer to slam into concrete on my bike, than slide under, or through those cables and into on-coming traffic. Way I see it is broken bones can be fixed, but body parts cant be reattached if they were cut off by a half inch of steal cable
                      Just my two cents
                      If the cables have the proper tension and maybe just a bit of slack, they could actually give enough to avoid slicing off a limb or your head. I suppose that if you were going fast enough, no matter how well the system is engineered, it could slice you in two. But, at those speeds, I am certain you wouldn't want to hit a concrete barrier either.

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                      • #12
                        Further evidence of discrimination against motorcyclists. Perhaps the AMA will bring a suit against this?

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                        • #13
                          And no one mentioned what happens when you hit the posts that hold the cables. I think there are too many failure scenarios to put in print.

                          Jonathan
                          MY 00 #3510
                          ]Mugen Airbox, Headers, Exhaust, Pressure Plate,LSD, Radiator cap NZ dampers, Thermo SW seat track and Thermostat. Sampco intake pipe and radiator hoses, Swift sway bars, Stillen rotors, BBS JDM Forged Wheels.w/ Potensa Re=01R's Nextgear Intake manifold gasket, SPA gauges, Alpine IDA-X001, KCE-350Bt BT adapter, Focal 165-K2P 6.25" Speakers, Phoenix Gold ZX475Ti, Recaro Profi SPG w/Sparco 6 pt harness

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Goku
                            Ok, we have a small section of that style barrier here in Colorado, and when I'm in my car I feel safe if i hit it, BUT I ride motorcylces way more often than I drive my car, and I'm scared Shitless when I pass by them, think if I were to crash here, those things would cut me in two. So I would much more perfer to slam into concrete on my bike, than slide under, or through those cables and into on-coming traffic. Way I see it is broken bones can be fixed, but body parts cant be reattached if they were cut off by a half inch of steal cable
                            Just my two cents
                            A 1" cable won't cut through you. It'll probably snap a bone that contacts it but it won't sever the limb.


                            S2KCA - The S2000 Club of America

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                            • #15
                              Also a bunch of posts standing up to hold the cables, catch a leg or torso on one of those and see how safe they are.
                              Maybe they are equiped with airbags at 100k per mile.

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by WestSideBilly
                                A 1" cable won't cut through you. It'll probably snap a bone that contacts it but it won't sever the limb.
                                Are you kidding? It sure isn't going to snap. I doubt motorists have anything to worry about, but it could easily slice the hell out of a motorcyclist. Even worse, I noticed today that they installed them so close to the left shoulder that you can't even pull far enough off the road to safely change a flat! Smells like some contractor or "safety system" manufacturer has some effective (i.e. deep-pocketed) lobbyists, b/c I can't see how these make any sense.
                                Chris



                                '13 Civic Si sedan
                                '08 Ridgeline RTL
                                '02 Z06

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                                • #17
                                  I rather run into that then a concrete barrier. If you look closely they look to be about 10 inches apart which if I remember my science correctly if you fly into that wire, the force placed on one wire would cut you in half, but because there are 3 wires that are close enough together, the displacement of the impact over 3 points on a person's body or vehicle would not slice them in half. Its the same concept as sleeping on a bed of sharp nails, if spaced properly, the displacement of pressure will mean that it will not hurt you. You will have some nasty cuts that will need stiches, bruises, and probably break a few bones. Any accident really on a bike spells hospital most of the time anyways, but given the choice of concrete barrier or this new system, I would take my chances on the new system because at least this new system gives and absorbs some of the impact. So if you hit this barrier going 70 mph, the wires would absorb the impact and give and reduce that impact to something like 30-40 mph. Concrete doesn't give, so your impact is much more severe 70 mph means 70 mph. I draw this conclusion from veiwing the video. If you look, the truck has realatively little damage and slows very quickly, and the barrier gave about 4-5 feet.
                                  Last edited by asnbanker; 03-07-2006, 11:49 AM.


                                  '06 Laguna Blue - Sold

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by asnbanker
                                    If you look closely they look to be about 10 inches apart which if I remember my science correctly if you fly into that wire, the force placed on one wire would cut you in half, but because there are 3 wires that are close enough together, the displacement of the impact over 3 points on a person's body or vehicle would not slice them in half.
                                    No, you are right. It would actually be quarters, not halves.
                                    "Blue Oh-Two" (#424)
                                    Rick's header, Hondata gasket, Mugen thermostat/fan switch, Mugen radiator cap, Aussie mirror, Lucid's rear speakers, Alpine CDA-7893R & KCE-865B, Muz's saddlebag, Windscreen Light, Modifry's glove box organizer and lots of Zaino!

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Chris S
                                      Are you kidding? It sure isn't going to snap. I doubt motorists have anything to worry about, but it could easily slice the hell out of a motorcyclist. Even worse, I noticed today that they installed them so close to the left shoulder that you can't even pull far enough off the road to safely change a flat! Smells like some contractor or "safety system" manufacturer has some effective (i.e. deep-pocketed) lobbyists, b/c I can't see how these make any sense.
                                      Don't forget that cars/trucks make up roughly 99.9% of traffic... so the 0.1% might get hurt more but the rest all get hurt less. Classic utilitarianism, which is how most governments try to operate.

                                      That said, I'm sure there was lobbying involved. And I'd still take my chances with a flexible cable over a concrete wall...


                                      S2KCA - The S2000 Club of America

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                                      • #20
                                        I just saw these for the first time on I-35W going down to Waco last weekend (went Geocaching with the Xterra club... had pfun) - they're ugly as sin.

                                        I would prefer no barrier. There was no need for one in the section of 35 where I saw it - the median is a good 30+ yards wide. How often is a crash bad enough that someone goes ALL the way across? Often enough to justify blowing millions of dollars of tax money on this?

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