How they work
The barriers are made of three or four steel cables strung on posts. When a car hits the barrier, the posts break and the cables flex, absorbing much of a crash’s kinetic energy. This redirects the vehicle along the median, preventing a cross-median crash.
When a vehicle hits a section of cable barrier, maintenance crews can repair the damaged section quickly. The barriers are carried on steel posts that slide into concrete sleeves. If the barrier is damaged, the posts slide out easily to allow a new cable section to be installed.
In addition to the ability to lessen crash severity, the cable barriers cost less than permanent concrete barriers. The barriers are usually installed in highway sections that include entrance and exit ramps that lead to traffic weaving or a change in the number of lanes that can result in crashes or near-crashes.
As traffic volumes have grown, Minnesota has experienced an increase in cross-median crashes. Installing cable median barriers in strategic locations is an effective method to prevent these often tragic crashes.