Criteria for Restoration of Longitudinal Barriers

Transportation agencies expend resources to ensure that all longitudinal barriers meet the safety performance guidelines to which they were constructed. Barrier systems are damaged by a wide variety of activities and factors, including minor crashes, snow plowing, mowing operations, and deterioration due to environmental conditions. Such damage may or may not be repaired by maintenance forces. For example, snowplows often bend W-beam guardrails and sometimes bend or break the posts. Even seemingly insignificant barrier damage or deterioration may compromise a barrier's safety performance. With limited maintenance budgets, state highway agencies often have large backlogs of needed safety-feature repairs. These agencies cannot afford to repair damage that does not alter a barrier's safety performance, but significant barrier damage must be repaired to provide adequate protection for the motoring public. Unfortunately, in the absence of objective criteria for determining when repair is not required, highway agencies may be held to the unachievable standard of maintaining all safety features in as-built condition to avoid tort liability. Therefore, there is a need for objective, quantitative criteria in the form of guidelines for assessing damage and deterioration and determining when a longitudinal barrier requires repair or can remain in service. The objective of this project is to develop guidelines to assist maintenance personnel in identifying the levels of damage and deterioration to longitudinal barriers that require repairs to restore operational performance. The guidelines will assist the user in identifying longitudinal barriers and their components that require replacement or repair. Quantitative-based guidelines should be developed for semi-rigid and flexible barrier systems. The project should focus on longitudinal barriers within the length-of-need. It is expected that the study may include mathematical analysis, simulation, or full-scale crash testing to develop a correlation between the various levels of damage and deterioration and the degree of operational degradation to different types of barrier systems. Interactions between various types of damage and deterioration should also be considered. Key analysis findings developed under this project need to be validated.


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  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $300000.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 22-23

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Niessner, Charles

  • Performing Organizations:

    Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg

    Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
    3500 Transportation Research Plaza
    Blacksburg, VA  United States  24061
  • Principal Investigators:

    Gabler, H

  • Start Date: 20060601
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20091130
  • Source Data: RiP Project 11207

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01463009
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Cooperative Highway Research Program
  • Contract Numbers: Project 22-23
  • Files: RIP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 2:14PM