Logged in as: Public User

Pier Protection

State OH
Description Text I would like your professional opinion about a proposed median bridge pier protection design a local city is asking to use.

This suburb is reconstructing a freeway interchange.  The mainline freeway will be on a structure over the 45 mph 4-lane divided arterial underneath, with bridge piers in the center median.  This will be a modified diamond interchange, with a low speed roundabout along the arterial on each side of the overhead structure.  This concept is shown on the attached sheet 4.  The city originally proposed a 16 foot wide 6" high curbed median through the center bridge pier location.   We recommended the city provide concrete barrier in lieu of the curbed median island to shield the piers.  The city has agreed to this, but they still want the curbed median outside of the bridge pier protection length and in between the roundabouts, as this design is typical for their arterial street system.

On the ODOT network the ends of this concrete barrier would be protected by impact attenuators, but the city wants the median curb to run directly to the concrete barrier, meaning the impact attenuator would have to be installed on a curbed island.  This is counter to the attenuator manufacturers recommendations.  Since this, and other standard solutions are not attractive to the city, it is asking for a different design.

Thus, the city's engineer, through its consultant, has proposed the attached draft design.  In it the concrete barrier (labeled as Type D on the second attachment) is flared to the center of the median and a mounded median is used to cover the barrier end, thus eliminating the need, in the city's opinion, for crash cushions.  One can assume all of the barrier taper rates and median slopes used in the design are allowable, so there are no snag points for a motorist to encounter.  In similar situations, ODOT would not allow a tapered end section to the concrete, but the city believes this design is safe, because none of the earth slopes violate any geometric standard.

I have my doubts about the design, but the AASHTO RDG does give the designer some leeway in lower speed urban locations.  After considerable discussion, I did inform the city and consultant I would run the idea past your group at the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility for your comments on the city's proposed design from a roadside safety point of view.  

  • Permanent Concrete Barriers
Other Keywords none
Date November 1, 2006


Thanks for the opportunity to review the proposed hazard mitigation design. From my review of the attached discussion and details, I assume that the authors are planning to allow impacting vehicles to travel up and over the sloped berm and onto the top of a single-slope concrete median barrier. This action would result in vehicles rolling off of the top of the barrier or traveling forward and entering the separated median barrier and bridge pier region. Second, angled impacts near the nose of the berm but slightly down the side could result in the vehicle being tripped and launched over the barrier system, potentially rolling over as well. As such, I do not recommend that the Ohio DOT nor any municipality use the sloped berm concept described below to treat the tall, single-slope concrete median barrier. Please feel free to discuss this matter with me at your convenience!

Date November 3, 2006

Contact Us:
130 Whittier Research Center
2200 Vine Street
Lincoln, NE 68583-0853
(402) 472-0965
Email: mwrsf@unl.edu
The information contained on the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility (MwRSF) website is subject to change without prior notice. The University of Nebraska and the MwRSF is not responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use or misuse of or reliance upon any such content, goods, or services available on this site.