Cable barriers that separate the two directions of Valley freeway traffic may soon stand out a bit better, reports the Arizona Republic.
While the barriers act as a net to prevent serious head-on collisions, they’re costly to repair when drivers accidentally maneuver into them. According to the Arizona Republic, the state pays about $1.44 million in barrier repairs in the Valley every year.
Officials believe that if the cable barriers were more visible, especially at night, repair costs would drop for the state’s Department of Transportation. Department Spokesman Doug Nintzel said the barriers get hit on average 80 times a month and each hit costs $1,500 in repairs.
As a test of that theory, workers are adding yellow reflective covers, similar to those on utility poles, to the barriers on a mile-long stretch of Loop 101 in Scottsdale north of the Indian School Road exit, reports the newspaper.
ADOT officials will compare cable-repair data for that area during the next couple of years with data from previous years. “It’s not necessarily a test of the cable barriers,” Nintzel said. “It’s more of a test of driver behavior. We’re going to see if an increase in the visibility might keep more drivers from running into them.”
Nintzel was unsure how much a large-scale project would cost; however, the pilot project covers will cost a few thousand dollars. The effectiveness of these covers has not been tested elsewhere in the country, reports the Arizona Republic.
The barriers were originally put into place five years ago in a $20 million dollar project, stretching along more than 100 miles in the Valley.