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Indiana Department of Transportation

INDOT > Traffic Operations > Cable Barrier Systems Cable Barrier Systems

Cable Barrier Systems (CBS) are life-saving traffic devices ideally suited for use in existing medians to prevent cross-over crashes.

Median crossover crashes tend to be severe and are more likely to occur with higher traffic volumes. Most states that have installed cable barriers in medians report a decrease in cross-median crash fatalities of 90 percent or more.

CBS absorb collision forces and reduce the impact on vehicle occupants. They consist of pre-stretched, individually anchored wire ropes tensioned between end terminals and held in position by intermediate breakaway line posts. They generally cost less to install, repair, and maintain than continuous metal guardrail or concrete barriers. The cost to repair CBS are offset by the life saving and injury-reducing benefits provided by their impact absorbing capability.

Indiana has installed 370 miles of CBS with plans for more along interstate highways, typically where medians are between 30 and 60 feet in width. Open medians of these widths are thought to have a higher potential for crossover crashes. Wider medians are thought to be more likely to allow for slowing or steering to avoid a collision. Because CBS must flex to absorb impacts, narrower medians are unsuitable for CBS and would call for metal guardrail or concrete formed barriers.

INDOT has plans to install 128.5 additional miles of CBS at a cost of approximately $13.2 million between 2014 and 2017.

Benefits of CBS

Cable barriers have been proven to:

  • Avoid median-crossover crashes
  • Reduce disabling injuries
  • Reduce fatalities
  • Reduce crash costs

Cable median barriers are safe, effective, cost efficient and have proven results.

Related Links

Contact Information

Roger Manning
Strategic Highway Safety Plan Manager
Indiana Department of Transportation
100 N. Senate Ave.N955
Indianapolis, IN 46024
317-232-5204
rmanning@indot.in.gov