Cable median barriers going up on East Loop to help prevent head-on crashes

Published: Jul. 26, 2023 at 10:59 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - For the next nine months, TxDOT crews will be installing cable median barriers on the East Loop. The department is installing 11 miles of the new barriers from where the North Loop meets I-27, to where the South Loop meets the interstate.

“This is something that we’ve been working towards the last five years trying to get as much cable barrier up around our district, again, to make our roads safer,” Dianah Ascencio, with TxDOT, said.

The barriers are flexible, made from steel cables and posts to keep drivers safe and reduce damage to vehicles.

“When they hit the barrier, the barrier absorbs the energy from the impact and it redirects the vehicle, preventing it from going into oncoming traffic,” Ascencio said.

Data from the Federal Highway Administration shows head-on crashes cause eight percent of deaths on divided highways. Cable median barriers installed on rural four-lane freeways resulted in a 97 percent reduction in cross-median crashes.

“It’s definitely a tool that we have in our toolbox to prevent some of the worst kinds of crashes that happen anywhere, which are head-on collisions,” Ascencio said.

After KCBD Newschannel 11 notified its viewers the project was underway, one viewer said cable barriers already installed on the North Loop are damaged.

“Those duties are divided between our maintenance office and we actually have a contractor that comes in and fixes some of those. So, it just depends on where the crashes occur who comes in and actually does the repairs. We try to have a quick turnaround time because they are important,” Ascencio said.

If drivers crash into one of the barriers, Ascencio stated they should not try to untangle their car from the cables.

“You should always call 911 and first responders when you’re involved in a crash, but especially when you hit a cable barrier. They are under high, extreme tension and it is dangerous to try to cut those cables on your own. So, definitely call,” Ascencio said.

Ascencio says the impact of this project on traffic will be minimal, with some inside lane and shoulder closures. She says to watch out for reduced speed limits of 55 miles per hour and construction crews.