Standard midwest guardrail system placed at 1V:2H slope break point or with omitted post

Karla A. Lechtenberg, Robert W. Bielenberg, Scott K. Rosenbaugh, Ronald K. Faller, John D. Reid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


State departments of transportation (DOTs) throughout the United States commonly use W-beam guardrail systems to keep errant vehicles from leaving high-speed roadways and encountering safety hazards adjacent to the roadway edge, such as steep roadside slopes. Additionally, although W-beam guardrail is used to protect errant vehicles from safety hazards along the roadways, obstructions at post locations within a run of guardrail are a common occurrence. State DOTs wanted to evaluate the standard Midwest Guardrail System (MGS) for use in these instances. First, the standard MGS with 6-ft (1,829-mm) W6 × 8.5 (W152 × 12.6) steel posts spaced at 75 in. (1,905 mm) placed at the slope break point of a 1V:2H slope was successfully crash tested and evaluated according to the Test Level 3 (TL-3) safety performance criteria presented in the Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH). Subsequently, the standard MGS with one omitted post, which created an unsupported span of 12.5 ft (3.8 m), was full-scale crash tested, and it satisfied the MASH TL-3 safety performance criteria. Because multiple variations of the MGS system have been developed for special applications, recommendations for the omission of a post or installation on a steep slope will vary depending on the nature and behavior of the application. The safety performance of various MGS configurations and special applications was compared. Implementation guidance was then given about the use of the MGS placed at the slope break point and omitting a post in the MGS with MGS special applications. These special applications included terminals and anchorages, MGS stiffness transition to thrie beam approach guardrail transitions, MGS long-span system, MGS adjacent to 1V:2H fill slopes, MGS on 1V:8H approach slopes, MGS in combination with curbs, wood post MGS, and MGS without blockouts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-76
Number of pages12
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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