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Jersey Barriers: What You Need to Know

What is the Jersey Barrier?

The Jersey Barrier, also known as the “Jersey Curb”, “K-Rail”, and “Jersey Wall'' are the most commonplace traffic barriers we see across the United States. Designed to mitigate cross-traffic collisions on major highways, this common sense solution to accident prevention is still a recent invention. It’s first iterations developed as early as 1940, Jersey barriers have quickly developed through use and experimentation. Their versatility has allowed these barriers to be used on and off the road; making Jersey barriers a necessary safety item in any construction team’s gearbox.

Origins of Use:

Prior to the 1940’s, barricades on highways were made from wooden fencing, if not altogether non-existent. This style and material of barricade was ineffective: wood did not have the durability to withstand the impact of steel-body vehicles, and the vertical shape caused vehicles to flip upon impact, increasing the damage and mortality rates of road accidents.

The California division of highways develops the first prototype of any concrete traffic barrier in the United States. These barriers were installed along a specific section of the US-99, colloquially named “Grapevine Grade”, known for having one of the nation’s highest numbers of head-on collisions.

The unique parabolic-curved shape of these new barriers allows vehicle wheels to drive up and turn along the barricade, preventing the vehicle from flipping upon impact. Their invention would inspire New Jersey to develop their own highway barriers just a decade later in 1955.

Jersey barriers became distinctly different from their earlier counterparts as they grew in size. The first Jersey barriers grew from 18 inches high to today’s standard version at 32 inches high with a 24 inch base. By the 1970’s, this standardized Jersey Barrier could be found across the United States.

Today's Jersey Barriers

The first barriers were poured on site, making installations expensive and time consuming. Today’s barriers are made in a mold, with added style options including:

  • Steel rebar loops for crane lifting
  • Notches in the footer for forklift maneuvering

The “Ontario Tall Wall” model is also an option. At 42 inches tall, this towering barrier is designed to block headlight glare from oncoming traffic. For an updated Jersey Barrier model, consider the “F-Shape Barrier”. The F-Shape is the most recent adaptation, improved to suit modern vehicles, which have changed shape drastically since the invention of the original barrier several decades ago.

Plastic Jersey Barrier's and Their Benefits

As an alternative to heavy concrete barriers, hollow plastic barriers are also available. This material has several advantages, including:

  • Cheaper production and retail cost
  • Easy and lightweight to transport when empty
  • Convenient to place and maneuver around worksites
  • High visibility in bright orange or white plastic
  • Fills with water or sand to add weight and durability
  • Models can be made to interlock
  • Easily customizable with additional reflective strips and upper fencing
  • Ideal for short term applications
  • Suitable and durable for long term use in hot and cold weather

Why should you use Jersey Barriers?

Barriers are a safety measure for drivers as well as road workers. Accident prevention is a must for all road-work zones. In effect, the barrier’s ability to lower accident rates also saves money, being one of the more cost effective solutions to protect road-users and mitigate the expense of road repairs.

Where to use barriers?

Aside from installation on high-risk stretches of highway, barriers can be seen most commonly around road construction sites. Why?

  • Easy to move around the site with a forklift or crane
  • Reflective strips on barriers increase safety and visibility

Use as security barriers:

Jersey barriers have been used as road blocks within city limits to prevent foot traffic or dictate single lane roads. Concrete style barriers have been used for a wide variety of security installations from public perimeter security ot active war zones.

Small-scale Applications:

Plastic barriers are the solution for short term projects. You can fin these colorful plastic barriers at airports between flights to block runway traffic, or around open sewer grates in city areas to limit pedestrian accidents during regular maintenance. Many companies prefer plastic barriers because they can be moved quickly or on short notice due to their lightweight design.

Increasing overall visibility:

Take advantage of the reflective strips and bright colors of jersey barrier to increase visibility where is matters most: ideal for road use, parking garages, and public footpaths. With several material options and varied styles, Jersey barriers have a great deal of versatility. Use barriers at public events or concerts, designate parking zones, or mark private property.

Looking for Jersey Barriers at a better price for your next project?

GE&S sells quality used, house-inspected, and reconditioned construction equipment at up to 70% of the retailer’s prices Inquire today about our extensive stock of concrete and plastic barriers available for purchase

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