What is a Jersey Barrier?
A Jersey barrier or Jersey wall is a modular concrete or plastic barrier employed to separate lanes of traffic, delineate a construction area or mark off a pedestrian zone. They are designed to minimize vehicle damage in cases of incidental contact and prevent the crossover case of a head-on collision on a road or highway. Jersey barriers can be setup in a temporary, semi-permanent or permanent configuration. Some military and federal installations use them to protect against suicide vehicle bombs. Temporary traffic barriers can be set up using either a concrete or plastic water filled barrier.
Why is it called a Jersey Barrier?
It was developed at the Stevens Institute of Technology in the 1950s in New Jersey under the direction of the New Jersey State Highway Department to divide multiple lanes on a highway. A typical Jersey barrier is made of steel-reinforced poured concrete or plastic. Many are constructed with the embedded steel reinforcement protruding from each end, allowing them to be incorporated into permanent emplacements and connected to each other. During the 50's these barriers would be implemented in various states, but would bear the name of the state in which they were developed. Now you know!
The New Jersey Turnpike Authority continued to develop and test a similar, but heavily reinforced design. This barrier design has been credited with effectively containing and redirecting larger vehicles, including semi-trailer trucks. The states of New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey have adopted the taller barrier for their roads.
Why Do I See These Barriers Everywhere?
These innocuous looking concrete barriers have been designed to redirect a crash, using the car’s momentum to absorb the impact and slide the vehicle up parallel along the side of the barrier to prevent a rollover. The barrier was purposely designed to minimize damage in accidents and reduce the likelihood of a car crossing into oncoming lanes in the event of a head-on collision. They have been adopted by highway departments throughout the United States and throughout the world. Their use in road construction has led to wide application as a generic, portable barrier during construction projects. They are also used on bridges and carpool lanes to temporarily reroute a heavy flow of traffic.
How Do I Place and Move Concrete Jersey Barriers?
Most barriers are designed with two rectangular notches at the bottom that allow for a forklift-style lift. Barriers meant for short-term placement—especially in military and security barrier uses can be outfitted with steel rebar loops embedded in the top surface for a rapid hook-and-cable lift.
Are Jersey Barriers Suitable for Security Purposes?
Concrete Jersey Barriers have been used by Government and the Military to provide a higher level of security around a facility or base. For high security events, like summits, they are placed around an area and steel wire fencing is secured to them. The fence used on the barrier can prevent protesters climbing over the barriers around a security zone. The U.S. military uses them to prevent truck bomb attacks and they are placed in widespread use around military installations.
What About Plastic Jersey Barriers?
Hollow polyethylene barriers have been developed for short-term applications where portability is important. These plastic barriers are normally filled with water after placement on-site to provide a moderate level of crash protection. They are not designed to deflect vehicles, but can absorb the impact of the crash. A few are rated for highway use and crash prevention. These barriers can also be filled with soil, spill, or concrete to produce a heavier barrier with greater crash protection, at the cost of reduced portability. In cold weather climates the water is mixed with anti-freeze to prevent the water from freezing and cracking.
There are a lot of advantages of Using Plastic Jersey Barriers. They can be filled with water for maximum durability and security. When they are empty, water-fillable barriers are easily transported, making them the ideal barricade for short term projects. They are available in several colors for increased visibility and safety.
Small jobs or short-term projects often can't justify the cost of concrete Jersey barriers. In these cases, Plastic Jersey highway barriers save you time and money, because they can be moved easily – no trucks or cranes are needed. Plastic Jersey barriers are also economical because they can be re-used for road projects, construction areas, special events, emergencies and other situations. You can also keep an area or construction zone private and secure with the use of a steel fence on these water filled barriers. The steel fence provides an imposing and secure barrier for unwanted entries and provides excellent security and visibility.
The high end water filled barrier is reinforced with stranded steel cables and is an NCHRP 350 TL-3 certified work zone crash barrier that can be used as an alternative to cumbersome concrete barriers in a construction work zone. They have been tested and have passed all TL-2 and TL-3 light and heavy vehicle impacts at 45 and 62.5 mph. The cables prevent the impacting vehicle from penetrating the barrier wall and into the work zone or on-coming traffic.
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