April 4, 2007
Wire rope cable barrier improves highway safety
A new wire rope cable barrier is being installed along the median of Highway 1 between Young Road and Prest Road in Chilliwack.
“This is the first time we’ve used this type of barrier on a major highway in the province” said Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon, when making the announcement on March 29th. “This is leading edge technology that has been proven to reduce the number of cross-over crashes” he said.
The three kilometre long location was selected because if a long history of cross-over crashes.
A traditional concrete barrier would have required site modifications, such as drainage improvements and a widening of the pavement.
The wire rope cable barrier system consists of tensioned wire ropes supported by collapsible posts with anchors. The kinetic energy of the impacting vehicle is absorbed by the wire ropes and posts, reducing injury to the vehicle occupants and reducing damage to the vehicle. the open design minimizes the visual obstruction that other barriers can present, and reduces the accumulation of drifting snow.
The technology has recently been tested in the Harrison Hot Springs area. In January the wire rope cable stopped a vehicle from plunging into the lake.
“This innovative technology has been used in the U.S., the U.K., Australia and New Zealand” said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General John Les. “Studies from these jurisdictions have concluded that the number of fatal crashes is significantly reduced on roadways with wire rope cable barriers. That’s why British Columbia is opening the door to this technology.” The project will cost $364,000, with the Ministry of Transportation funding $334,000 and ICBC funding $30,000. Work is expected to be completed later this month.
A similar safety barrier system is being installed along a 10 kilometre section of the Deerfoot Trail in Calgary. In the past few years, eight people and a baby born prematurely died after out-of-control vehicles crossed the median into opposite lanes of the highway along that section. “The work is 80 per cent complete”, said Peter Markovich, project manager with Volker Stevin Contracting Ltd. The cable is being strung now and the installation should be complete by mid-April.
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