Maryland State Highway Administration to Replace 'Frankensteined' Guardrails by November

Oct. 4, 2023
The SHA anticipates the completion of the remaining guardrails by Nov. 1

The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) State Highway Administration (SHA) is expected to complete the replacement of non-conforming, or 'Frankensteined' guardrails on state roadways. 

'Frankensteined' has become an industry term that describes modified guardrails with parts from different manufacturers.

This most commonly happened when the end treatment of a guardrail was struck and required replacement, according to the SHA.

They explained that contractors installed readily available parts and, in some instances, the material was not fully compatible with the existing barrier.

"The systems are normally proprietary systems and they're manufactured with very specific instructions and parts in mind in order to ensure it works properly," said Deputy Administrator Teri Soos.

At the end of last month, the SHA completed a statewide inventory to document where replacements were necessary on guardrail end treatments.

109 non-conforming end treatments had been discovered by the SHA, which is about 0.66 percent of the total system.

At the time, 79 had already been replaced. 

"They are tested by accredited test labs," Soos said. "We don't know what would happen if you use parts from different manufacturers within the system. However, it's not tested. Therefore, we are proactively replacing them to ensure that we have the safest system we can on our roadways."

The SHA anticipates the completion of the remaining guardrails by Nov. 1.