Long-span guardrail system for culvert applications

R. K. Faller, D. L. Sicking, K. A. Polivka, J. R. Rohde, B. W. Bielenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


A long-span guardrail for use over low-fill culverts was developed and successfully crash tested. The guardrail system was configured with 30.48 m of nested, 12-gauge W-beam rail and centered around a 7.62-m-long unsupported span. The nested W-beam rail was supported by 16 W152 × 13.4 steel posts and 6 standard CRT posts, each with two 150-mm × 200 × 360 mm wood block-outs. Each post was 1830 mm long. Post spacings were 1905 mm on center, except for the 7.62-m spacing between the two CRT posts surrounding the long span. The research study included computer simulation modeling with Barrier VII and full-scale vehicle crash testing, using 3/4-ton (680-kg) pickup trucks in accordance with the Test Level 3 (TL-3) requirements specified in NCHRP Report 350. Three full-scale vehicle crash tests were performed. The first test was unsuccessful because of severe vehicle penetration into the guardrail system. This penetration resulted from a loss of rail tensile capacity during vehicle redirection when the swagged fitting on the cable anchor assembly failed. A second test was performed on the same design, which contained a new cable anchor assembly. During vehicle redirection, the pickup truck rolled over and the test was considered a failure. The long-span system was subsequently redesigned to incorporate double block-outs on the CRT posts and crash tested again. Following the successful third test, the long-span guardrail system was determined to meet TL-3 criteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-29
Number of pages11
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1720
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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