This week we released the 2008 annual report on cable median barrier in Washington State. The report is a follow up to the June 2007 report requested by Governor Chris Gregoire.
How is cable median barrier performing? Well, there’s good news and more good news. Cable barrier continues to save lives in Washington. Statewide, cable barrier successfully restrained 95 percent of vehicles from crossing highway medians.
Additionally, in areas where cable barrier has been installed, there has been a 73 percent reduction in serious injuries and fatalities from crossover collisions. While no barrier can protect drivers 100 percent of the time, drivers who strike cable median barrier are less likely to be seriously injured because the cable barrier absorbs the force of the collision. Vehicles that hit the rigid concrete barrier are more likely to ricochet back into traffic. Occupants are at risk of suffering injury from the force of impact with the rigid barrier and from colliding with other vehicles.
So if cable median barrier is so great, why is WSDOT replacing 10 miles of it with concrete barrier in Marysville? Last July, WSDOT, the Washington State Patrol and independent experts completed a detailed review of statewide cable median barrier and cross-median collisions on I-5 in Marysville at the request of Governor Gregoire. The report noted a higher-than-average number of crossover collisions on I-5 in Marysville, for reasons not completely understood by safety specialists. Due to the history of cross-median collisions in this area, the report recommend installation of concrete barrier on the northbound inside shoulder of 10 miles of I-5 through Marysville while leaving the existing cable median barrier adjacent to the southbound lanes. Using both cable median barrier and concrete barrier will help keep southbound traffic from crossing into the northbound lanes.
You can find more about the 2008 Cable Barrier update at: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/Cablebarrier/Report2008