Head-on accidents caused by vehicles crossing the median on divided highway systems can be some of the deadliest.  A new safety cable system being installed in the median between opposing lanes of traffic hopes to drastically reduce the likelihood of these type accidents.

The new cable system will be installed along four sections of highway in Bowie, Marion and Harrison Counties over the next few months according to plans approved in August by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

Highways scheduled to receive the cable barriers are:

  • Loop 151 in Bowie County from US 59 to the Arkansas State Line.
  • I-369 in Bowie County from US 59 to US 82.
  • US 59 in Marion County from FM 2208 to the Harrison County Line.
  • US 59 in Harrison County from the Marion County Line to Woodlawn Oaks Road.

“The safety cable system has three to four strands of ¾-inch high tension cable that are supported by metal posts.  The cables are suspended up to 30 inches above the ground and are intended to catch vehicles in the median before they get into oncoming traffic,” said Ray Brady, area engineer for TxDOT in Marshall.  “Although no system can prevent all crossover accidents, this new cable system looks very promising in preventing most and has been tested to hold back even a semi-truck when hit at a glancing blow.”

The system has several advantages over the more common concrete median barrier.  The primary advantage is cost—concrete barriers can cost more than twice as much, so funding for this type project can go more than twice as far in erecting safety barriers.  The cable system also has more give, slowing the vehicle down more gradually and is less likely to cause vehicles to ricochet back into traffic.

As far as maintenance, the cables rarely ever break during accidents and the posts are easily replaced to quickly repair the system, Brady said.

H.V. Caver Inc. of Atlanta, was awarded the contract for the project with a low bid of $1.5 million.

Work on the project is expected to begin in November of this year and take about 17 months to complete, Brady said.

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