SWZDI Home Projects Board of Directors Events

Development of MASH TL-3 Transition Between Guardrail and Portable Concrete Barriers

Status: Complete

Description: Often, road construction causes the need to create a work zone. In these scenarios, portable concrete barriers (PCBs) are typically installed to shield workers and equipment from errant vehicles as well as prevent motorists from striking other roadside hazards. For an existing W-beam guardrail system installed adjacent to the roadway and near the work zone, guardrail sections are removed in order to place the portable concrete barrier system. The focus of this research study was to develop a proper stiffness transition between W-beam guardrail and portable concrete barrier systems. This research effort was accomplished through development and refinement of design concepts using computer simulation with LS-DYNA. Several design concepts were simulated, and design metrics were used to evaluate and refine each concept. These concepts were then analyzed and ranked based on feasibility, likelihood of success, and ease of installation. The rankings were presented to the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) for selection of a preferred design alternative. Next, a Critical Impact Point (CIP) study was conducted, while additional analyses were performed to determine the critical attachment location and a reduced installation length for the portable concrete barriers. Finally, an additional simulation effort was conducted in order to evaluate the safety performance of the transition system under reverse-direction impact scenarios as well as to select the CIP. Recommendations were also provided for conducting a Phase II study and evaluating the nested MGS configuration using three Test Level 3 (TL-3) full-scale crash tests according to the criteria provided in the Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware, as published by the American Association of Safety Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

Report: 2014_NDOR_transition_between_guardrail_and_portable_concrete_barriers.pdf 7.25 mb (published 2014)

State conducting research: Nebraska


  • Lechtenberg, Karla (University of Nebraska)
  • Gutierrez, David A. (Nebraska Transportation Center)
  • Bielenberg, Robert W. (Nebraska Transportation Center)
  • Faller, Ronald (University of Nebraska)
Iowa State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, ethnicity, religion, national origin, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, sex, marital status, disability, or status as a U.S. veteran. Inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies may be directed to Office of Equal Opportunity, Title IX/ADA Coordinator and Affirmative Action Officer, 3410 Beardshear Hall, 515 Morrill Road, Ames, Iowa 50011, Tel. 515 294-7612, Hotline: 515-294-1222, eooffice@iastate.edu.