Cable Median Barriers

High Tension Cable Median Barriers

cable barrier


High tension cable barriers can help save lives on state highways. Traffic fatalities or severe injuries often result when a vehicle departs the inside travel lane of a divided highway, crosses the median, and strikes a vehicle traveling in the opposing direction. These types of crashes present the highest risk of fatal and severe injuries among all collision types on highways.

As traffic volumes have grown, North Dakota 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.

Most states that have installed cable barriers in medians report a decrease in cross-median crash fatalities of 90 percent or more.

How do cable barriers work?

High tension cable barriers are made of three or four steel cables strung on posts and act like a net when a vehicle strikes them. The cables are designed to detach from the posts and absorb the energy of the vehicle. The vehicle is slowed and redirected to prevent a potential cross median crash.

Benefits of cable barriers

Cable Barriers have been proven to:

  • Avoid median-crossover crashes
  • Reduce disabling injuries
  • Reduce fatalities

Cable median barriers are safe, effective, cost efficient and have proven results.

Motorcyclist benefits

Motorcyclists benefit from cable median barriers by keeping other vehicles from crossing the median into their path.This video (WMV 3.5MB) shows how close one motorcyclist came to being hit by an oncoming vehicle. If this location had a cable median barrier installed it would have easily prevented the vehicle from crossing the median

Where are they being used?

The cable median barriers are being installed in North Dakota on sections of Interstate 29 and 94 based on several factors including:

  • Average Annual Daily Traffic
  • Median width
  • Crashes
  • Speed
  • Urban/Rural
  • Number of lanes
  • American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials Roadside Design Guide

Related information about cable barriers:
AASHTO Technology Implementation Group