Concrete Safety Barriers (Dec 1977)

CCA Road Note 05 by Cement and Concrete Association

Throughout Australia, concrete safety barriers are being used to improve the safety of existing roads and to provide a built-in safety feature in new roadways. When used as med ian barriers, their most common ro ]e, they minimise the risk of head-on collisions, the type of accident which accounts for such a high proportion of damage to vehicles and their occupants on our roads. Safety devices often produce high maintenance liability , frequently they are costly to repair or replace after havjng performed thei r I unction in preventing an accident or at leviati ng the damage caused by one. This is not true of concrete safety barriers. They need no routine maintenance whatso ever, and wit I not usually suffer any structural damage when hit by a vehicle. The rigid concrete barrier does not deflect under impact, its pro file is such that the vehicle climbs part-way up it and is then deflected back into the adjacent traffic lane. The impact energy of low angle collisions is principally dissipated by the compression of the vehicle's suspension system. The vehicle is redirected by its wheels, not its body, with little or no damage to the veh icle and seldom more than tyre marks on the barrier. Even on the ; are occasions when a vehicle hits a barrier at a greater impact angle, there is little likelihood .of the vehicle breaking through; some veh icle damage may, however, occur. Both precast and insitu concrete barriers are being used , the latter often slipformed. Precast barriers usually incorporate reinforcing steel to withstand handling stresses involved in transporting the units from the casting yard to the site.

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