The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be using a barrier wall system on a 3-1/2-mile reconstruction project on Interstate 75 in southern Wayne County in 2008 that will provide greater access for emergency vehicles.
Jeff Grossklaus, work zone quality engineer for MDOT, said that the department will be using Barrier Systems, Inc.'s ArmorGuard Barrier with concrete barrier because when accidents occurred on another adjacent project that was done this year that only had concrete barrier wall, emergency personnel had difficulty accessing the accident sites.
"They had to shut the freeway down. We're hoping that we can reduce the freeway shutdowns by having gates where they can enter from the other side of the roadway," Grossklaus said.
Barrier Systems' ArmorGuard Barrier is made out of metal and it is the same shape as concrete barrier. Each section is approximately 28 feet long. It can be tied into the existing concrete barrier wall with a pin system, similar to what is being used for the concretebarrier. When it needs to be opened, there is a hand crank that pushes wheels out from underneath. One side is unpinned, and a hinge on the other side allows the gate to swing open.
"In the past, we had to bring in a front-end loader or some other heavy equipment, unpin the wall and push the wall out of the way or actually lift it up and move it. That takes the machine and operator away from what they are doing. This system shouldn't need any equipment to move it, just manpower," Grossklaus said.
The ArmorGuard Barrier has been crash tested and meets the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) 350 Test Level 2 (70km/h) conditions.
"If you can get to the accident site quicker with an emergency vehicle, it's better for the injured people. Also, the longer traffic is backed up because of an accident, the more chance there is of rear-end collisions. So, the sooner we can clear the accident and get traffic flowing normally, the less chance of accidents," Grossklaus said.