Development of a 34-in. Tall Thrie-Beam Guardrail Transition to Accommodate Future Roadway Overlays

Scott K. Rosenbaugh, Ronald K. Faller, Jennifer D. Schmidt, Robert W. Bielenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Roadway resurfacing and overlay projects effectively reduce the height of roadside barriers placed adjacent to the roadway, which can negatively affect their crashworthiness. More recently, bridge rails and concrete barriers have been installed with slightly increased heights to account for future overlays. However, adjacent guardrails and approach transitions have not yet been modified to account for overlays. The objective of this project was to develop an increased-height approach guardrail transition (AGT) to be crashworthy both before and after roadway overlays of up to 3 in. The 34-in. tall, thrie-beam transition detailed here was designed such that the system would be at its nominal 31-in. height following a 3-in. roadway overlay. Additionally, the upstream end of the AGT incorporated a symmetric W-to-thrie transition segment that would be replaced by an asymmetric transition segment after an overlay to keep the W-beam guardrail upstream from the transition at its nominal 31-in. height. The 34-in. tall AGT was connected to a modified version of the standardized buttress to mitigate the risk of vehicle snag below the rail. The barrier system was evaluated through two full-scale crash tests in accordance with Test Level 3 (TL-3) of AASHTO’s Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH) and satisfied all safety performance criteria. Thus, the 34-in. tall AGT with modified transition buttress was determined to be crashworthy to MASH TL-3 standards. Finally, implementation guidance was provided for the 34-in. tall AGT and its crashworthy variations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)489-501
Number of pages13
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Development of a 34-in. Tall Thrie-Beam Guardrail Transition to Accommodate Future Roadway Overlays'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this