Development, Crash Testing, and Evaluation of Portable Concrete Barriers Gap-Spanning Hardware

Riley J. Ruskamp, Mojdeh Asadollahi Pajouh, Robert W. Bielenberg, Scott K. Rosenbaugh, Ronald K. Faller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Portable concrete barriers (PCBs) are commonly used to protect work-zone personnel and to shield motorists from hazards in construction areas. It is not uncommon to encounter longitudinal gaps within PCB installations resulting from the practice of constructing and connecting the barriers from different ends during setup or contractor operations. Longitudinal gaps can also be created by tensioning issues following an impact event. These gaps can range from 6 in. to a full barrier segment length of 12.5 ft. Longitudinal gaps between adjacent installations of PCB systems pose a serious safety concern for the errant motorist. Therefore, a need existed to develop a treatment capable of shielding the longitudinal gaps that occur between adjacent installations of PCB systems. In this research, design concepts for the gap-spanning hardware were conceived, and two design concepts were selected for further investigation and refinement through LS-DYNA computer simulation. Based on simulation results and input from the Midwest Pooled Fund Program member states, the design concept utilizing nested thrie-beam spanning the gap was chosen for full-scale crash testing under Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware 2016 (MASH 2016). Two tests were conducted to MASH test no. 3-11 to evaluate the length of need of the system, as well as the transition from the gap-spanning hardware to the PCBs. In both tests, the 2270P vehicle was contained and safely redirected. Recommendations are provided for system implementation and future installation with current PCB systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)635-649
Number of pages15
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • infrastructure
  • roadside safety design
  • roadway design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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