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Replacing defective guardrails proving to be a difficult task

Posted on Thursday, October 30th, 2014   

Some state workers are scrambling to find and replace defective highway guardrail components that may have caused over nine deaths, according to an article on the Washington Post.

A design flaw is thought to be the reason for some recent guardrail malfunctions. Instead of collapsing on impact, the guardrail’s end units have been impaling cars. Trinity Industries reduced the size of a small component used in the safety equipment, reportedly saving the company approximately $2 per unit. Since its redesign in 2005, the ET-Plus guardrail has been widely distributed and implemented in roadways across the country.

The problem is compounded by the fact that there is no record to show where these new units have been installed. This has forced some contractors in Virginia and Maryland to measure each guardrail cap by hand to identify the defective part. A spokesperson for Virginia’s Department of Public Transportation admitted that “they could be anywhere in the commonwealth,” and that state officials are doing their best to develop a plan to quickly identify and replace each unit.


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