Delaware Route 1 is the first stretch of state highway have cable guard rails installed to prevent crossover accidents. That road will see an uptick in traffic as work begins to repair the St. George’s bridge.
The state of Delaware is taking a page out of NASCAR’s playbook by installing safer barriers to reduce injuries during an accident.
State transportation officials are installing cable guard rails on Route 1 from Route 299 to Route 896. DelDOT’s Jim Westhoff says the cables are designed to keep cars from crossing over into oncoming lanes, and are able to stay in place even after a crash. “Traditional guard rails will often bounce cars back into traffic. These guardrails will absorb the energy, slowing the vehicle down, and not shoving it back into traffic.” He says crossover accidents are almost always end in tragedy.
The cables can only be installed in wider medians, Westhoff says, “They’re going to give in about ten feet either direction when a vehicle hits it, so we need to have a very wide median for them to work effectively.” Westhoff says DelDOT is looking at similar stretches of road where the cables can be installed.
The section of Route 1 where the cables are being installed will be studied as a pilot project to determine the lifetime costs of the system. Transportation officials say they should be easier to maintain than a traditional guardrail. The project cost $750,000, and was paid for with federal grant money.
Meanwhile, traffic volume will increase next week as southbound motorists who normally take the St. George’s bridge to travel over the C&D canal will be detoured to take the Roth/Route 1 bridge. The Army Corp of Engineers will be redecking work on January 19th. The soutbound lanes will be done first. That will be followed by the northbound lanes. The bridge is expected to be closed for about 9 months.