Better protection

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Interstate travelers are acutely aware of the dangers of vehicles that cross the median. Too many serious accidents and traffic fatalities have been attributed to these crossovers. In heavily congested areas, barriers have been erected to prevent these crossovers, saving countless lives.

Some of the barriers are concrete. But there is a less expensive method of keeping traffic from getting across the median: cable guards. This simple system uses posts and cables to prevent vehicles from getting into oncoming lanes of traffic.

The Missouri Department of Transportation has announced that the guard cables will be installed, starting in May, along I-55 from the Oak Ridge exit in Cape Girardeau County to the I-57 interchange in Sikeston, Mo.

In addition to cost, the cables have some other advantages over concrete barriers. Cables tend to absorb impact, preventing vehicles from bouncing back into lanes of traffic, as with concrete barriers.

MoDOT says the cables, which have stopped more than 95 percent of vehicles from crossing the median, also have reduced fatalities by 92 percent in the last four years.

That's an impressive statistic, one that makes a good case for installing the cables in all interstate medians.

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