Three members of the engineering faculty at the University of Florida recently designed and patented a new low-profile concrete barrier. The 46-centimeter (18-inch)-high barrier, which comes in 3.7-meter (12-foot) segments, was developed to provide a less expensive, easier-to-align buffer at highway construction sites. The Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) expects to begin using the new barriers next year in work zones with speeds not exceeding 72 kilometers per hour (45 miles per hour).
The new barrier can successfuly deflect any vehicle ranging from a small car to a standard pickup truck approaching from a 25-degree angle, preventing it from crashing into a work zone and protecting the occupants of the vehicle. The low vertical profile of the barrier provides drivers with an unimpeded view of other vehicles at points of crossing, dramatically decreasing the chances of crashes. In addition, the barrier system provides an innovative connection mechanism that permits layouts with both horizontal and vertical curvature.