The National Academies

NCHRP 22-36 [Pending]

Synthesis of the Performance of Portable Concrete Barrier Systems

  Project Data
Funds: $50,000
Contract Time: 8 Months
Staff Responsibility: Waseem Dekelbab

In 2009, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) implemented an updated guideline for the evaluation of roadside hardware. The new AASHTO Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH) improved the criteria for evaluating roadside hardware beyond those provided in the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report No. 350 through updates to test vehicles, test matrices, and impact conditions. In an effort to encourage state departments of transportation and hardware developers to advance their hardware designs, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and AASHTO have collaborated to develop a MASH implementation policy that includes sunset dates for various categories of roadside hardware. The new policy will require that devices installed on federal-aid roadways after the sunset dates must satisfy MASH. Temporary work-zone devices, including portable barriers, let on projects after December 31, 2019, must have been successfully tested using MASH 2016. Devices used on projects let before this date may continue to be used throughout their normal service lives. Thus, an opportunity exists to develop a high-performance portable barrier system that meets the MASH safety criteria as well as address the deflection, stability, and durability concerns of most current portable barrier designs. Before developing a new system, there is a need to review the performance of existing and under development non-proprietary portable concrete barrier (PCB) systems.
The objectives of this research are to (1) synthesize information on the performance of existing or under development non-proprietary portable concrete barrier systems and (2) propose recommendations for future research needs to improve the performance of PCB. At a minimum, the following considerations should be included in the evaluation of PCB systems:
  • At minimum, satisfy the AASHTO MASH Test Level 3 crash testing requirements
  • Potential for post-impact vehicle instability, specifically reduced roll, and vehicle climb
  • System deflections
  • Free-standing and anchorage system including bridge decks
  • Transport, installation, and removal times
  • Durability
Accomplishment of the project objectives will require at least the following tasks.
Task 1. Review relevant literature, specifications, ongoing research findings, current practices and other information canvassing all engineering and material disciplines to determine the current state-of-knowledge on portable concrete barriers, and associated components and systems. This information shall be assembled from published and unpublished reports, contacts with academia, transportation agencies, industry organizations, and other domestic and foreign sources, state DOTs, precast fabricators, contractors, and others.
Task 2. Conduct a survey to (1) identify the most commonly used PCB systems and (2) identify needed improvements. The survey shall be reviewed and approved by NCHRP before distribution.
Task 3. Summarize the various PCB systems based on results of Tasks 1and 2. Outline the perceived advantages and disadvantages of each PCB system, and address all evaluation criteria. Propose recommendations for future research needs.
Task 4. Present the research findings to the AASHTO Subcommittee on Bridges and Structures, Technical Committees: T-7 Guardrail and Bridge Rail and AASHTO Technical Committee on Roadside Safety.
Task 5. Submit a final report describing the entire research project and making recommendations for future research needs.

STATUS: Proposals have been received in response to the RFP. The panel will meet in February to select a contractor to perform the work.

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