Concrete Median Barrier for Flood-Prone Areas

Concrete median barriers are used to prevent serious cross-median crashes by preventing penetration of passenger vehicle and trucks into on-coming traffic. During Hurricane Harvey, it was observed that solid concrete median barriers can act as a dam for flood waters. This raises the height of the flood waters and increases the severity of flooding on both the highway and the surrounding roads and community. This rise in flood waters increases the risk to both motorists and others in the area, and can also increase the level of flood damage to the road network and any nearby structures. In the Beaumont area, several sections of median barrier were exploded to help mitigate the increased flooding being caused by the solid concrete barrier. In the Houston area, large sections of portable barrier being used as permanent median barrier were displaced or broken by the flood waters. These situations required significant repair before the highways could be reopened and the level of safety for motorists restored. Because median barriers are an important safety feature that provide an increased level of safety for motorists, they cannot be removed. Consequently, there is a need for a crashworthy median barrier that is designed to accommodate the passage of flood water during severe weather events. Project objectives include: Design and analyze a median barrier that will both meet the AASHTO MASH and permit sufficient passage of water through the barrier. Consideration may also be given to use of the barrier openings as small animal crossings in areas where animal impacts are common. Full-scale crash testing will verify compliance with MASH Test Level 4. When implemented in flood-prone areas, such a barrier would reduce the severity of flooding, decrease risk to motorists and others in the area, and reduce the level of damage to the highway and surrounding area.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $445921
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Texas Department of Transportation

    125 E. 11th Street
    Austin, TX  United States  78701-2483
  • Project Managers:

    Odell, Wade

  • Performing Organizations:

    Texas A&M Transportation Institute, College Station

    Texas A&M University System
    3135 TAMU
    College Station, TX  United States  77843-3135
  • Principal Investigators:

    Dobrovolny, Chiara

  • Start Date: 20180901
  • Expected Completion Date: 20200228
  • Actual Completion Date: 20200228

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01690708
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Texas Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: 0-6976
  • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 9 2019 5:03PM