MoDOT: Median cables cut accident deaths to 2

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Highway officials, who credit protective median cables for a significant drop in fatal accidents on the state's highways, said Monday that they plan to install them for an additional 100 miles on two roads.

The Missouri Department of Transportation plans to string guard cables for 55 miles on U.S. 67 from Festus to Fredericktown and for 45 miles on Interstate 55 from north of Cape Girardeau to Sikeston.

The guard cables are three bands of steel cable designed to block vehicles from crossing over into oncoming traffic.

According to the department, in 2007, just two deaths were reported involving crossover accidents where cables were installed on I-70, I-44, I-55 and I-29. The state had 990 traffic deaths last year.

The timing for those projects varied, but on those highways, 55 crossover accident deaths were reported in the last full year before median cables were installed. Most were in 2005 on I-44 and in 2003 on I-70.

In a written statement, Department of Transportation Director Pete Rahn said the cables are working better than expected.

"Median guard cable is an amazing success story for Missouri," he said. "We expected the cables to improve safety numbers, but seeing these results was an unexpected thrill for all of us."

The department installed almost 500 miles of guard cable along roads from 2004 to 2006. The agency used federal funds that were required to be spent on safety projects rather than general construction because Missouri doesn't ban open alcoholic containers in vehicles.

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On the Net:

Missouri Department of Transportation: http://www.modot.mo.gov

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