STATE – The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) is advancing toward its goal of protecting motorists with crossover protection barriers along every interstate highway and freeway median that is 60 feet wide or less, Commissioner James S. Simpson announced Monday.
Simpson noted that NJDOT reached a milestone last week when it installed new crossover prevention barriers at the last locations on a high-priority list.
“This department has worked steadily to install barriers along narrow highway medians because safety is our top priority and these barriers save lives,” Simpson said. “New Jersey highways are congested, and accidents do happen,” Simpson said. “We will continue to invest in median barriers because they help prevent accidents from becoming tragedies.”
The Department now is installing barriers in less-critical locations, including along a stretch of I-195 in Monmouth County where the commissioner announced progress toward 100 percent crossover crash protection. Crews were busy installing new median barriers nearby.
NJDOT ultimately will install 189 miles of barrier to protect motorists from median crossover crashes along high-speed Interstates and freeways. The completion of high-priority locations last week brought the total of new barrier to 134 miles.
The Department installed 30 miles of barrier in FY 10 and plans to install another 14 miles in FY 11, leaving just 41 miles to go, all of which are in low-accident and therefore lower-priority areas.
The remaining miles of barrier will be installed in conjunction with planned roadway resurfacing and reconstruction projects. Combining both jobs creates cost efficiencies. The program is expected to cost about $39 million from the time it was announced in 2002 through FY 11.
“Installing barriers when roadway improvement projects are carried out allows us to enhance safety in the most cost-effective manner possible,” Simpson said.
Since the barrier program began in 2002, median crossover accidents, injuries and deaths have been reduced significantly. There were 69 crossover accidents in 2004, compared to 16 in 2007. Injured motorists or passengers fell from 151 to 38 in that period, and deaths were reduced from 17 to 5.
NJDOT developed the Cross Median Accident Prevention Program in response to a series of cross median accidents in 2002. Eleven contracts were developed for 125 miles of median barrier protection. The last of the high-priority median protection contracts under the program were completed last week on I-95 and Route 18.
Most median barriers consist of dual-faced beam guide rail. A modified three-tiered beam guide rail is used in locations where medians are especially narrow (30 or fewer feet) and where there is a high percentage of truck traffic.
The completed construction areas include sections of Routes 18, 22, 24, 29, 42, 78, 80, 95, 195, 280, 287 and 295.
Current construction areas with new median barrier include Routes 195, 80 and 295. Locations in design include Routes 3, 280 and 295.
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