Why Guardrails are widely used

Guardrails are a tried and tested part of any roadway safety program. We see them everywhere, and their reliability is well known. With the construction season starting and fixing infrastructure, having a well-rounded understanding of the newer options available will help you plan appropriately. Most of our guardrail projects involve repairing or replacing with newer, better technology. Below is a summary of what we offer and why many choose these options for their infrastructure projects. 

How do Guardrails work?

Guardrails are a type of safety barrier that works by absorbing and deflecting motor vehicles that leave the lanes towards dangerous terrain. They serve many purposes. They can stop cars, deflect them to stop, or push them back onto the road surface. Guardrails are everywhere since the methodology they use has been time and time again. However, there are exceptions to the ability of guardrails that are affected by the speed and weight of the impacting vehicle. Since there are lots to consider, companies that supply guardrails have options for the best product to use.

Guardrails work together as a group of products designed to increase safety. Guardrails include different kinds of rails, a selection of blocks and posts. Posts can be designed to either break away during impact or absorb energy. Steel is used for all guardrails that we supply; however, composite, steel, or wood blocks can be used depending on the specific requirements. The same goes for posts, steel is widely used, but wood might be more appropriate depending on the project requirements.


T-31 Guardrail

T-31 Guardrail is considered a strong post W-beam system. T-31 is widely adopted and is known for its reliability. The T-31 Guardrail has been tested to both NCHRP Report 350 Test Level 3 and MASH test level 3. The installation has been a key consideration with the T-31, and the lack of need for offset blocks helps reduce added costs for site grading. The posts are strong posts, with weakening holes at ground lines. To reduce maintenance costs, countersunk-head bolts and post flange protectors are standard.

W-Beam Guardrail

Most applications call for a W-beam guardrail – this is the most commonly used. The barrier includes corrugated two-wave cross-sections and is used widely for medians and shoulders. This is the most common Guardrail we install, as its strengths are well known. Available in either a 10 or 12 gauge galvanized steel for maximum longevity.

Thrie Beam Guardrail 

Thrie beam guardrail is newer developed to add extra protection in areas of concern. Opposed to the two-wave design like a W-beam, Thrie beam rails feature a three-wave cross-sectional design. This adds durability and strength for areas of high consequence like bridge approaches. Constructed from galvanized steel and can be ordered in 10 or 12 gauge thicknesses.


Thrie Beam Guardrail

The Thrie Beam System offers added protection when deemed necessary.

Guardrail End treatments

Guardrails themselves only have various options since their function is primarily similar. There is a great level of differences in desired outcomes with end treatments. The reason being is the variety of scenarios for use and different climates. For example, our SoftStop system includes a narrower head to prevent unwanted damage from snowplows. Installations on curves or shorter spaces between roadway connections, speed limits, and more are all factors determining the right end treatment. At Barricade and Signs, we’re experts offering the below for end treatments.

How do Guardrails save lives?

Guardrails are designed to prevent harm to errant vehicles so the occupants survive the incident. They’re located in all areas where leaving the roadway is of high consequence. In doing so, they offer a predictable way impacts will be handled and help increase survivability. For road users, guardrails are the type of thing they never want to use, but are happy to see the added safety on the road.


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