Thursday, May 23, 2002

$1.2M cable barriers planned to make stretch safer

        They worked on Ohio 2 near Cleveland. Maybe they'll help Interstate 75.

        Metal cables will be installed in the median along I-75 between Ohio 129 and Ohio 73 in Butler and Warren counties, a 14-mile stretch that has been plagued by deadly median-crossover crashes.

        In August, the Ohio Department of Transportation spent $29,000 for “rumble strips,” grooves that cause a car's tires to vibrate loudly and alert motorists when they are in danger of entering the median.

        Now, at a cost of about $1.2 million, ODOT is planning to add posts strung with “wire rope,” which is designed to absorb impact and guide a vehicle alongside it, said Janis Cravens, department spokeswoman.

        Concrete barriers would have cost 10 times as much, Ms. Cravens said, and might have obstructed drivers' vision. “This, you can see through it; it's so unobtrusive, you can barely see it in the landscape.”

        Officials say only one other Ohio highway is equipped with the cables: 11 miles of Ohio 2 in Lake County, east of Cleveland.

        The barriers have been there at least seven years, and during that time, there have been no crossovers and no fatalities, said Paul Wasilewski, ODOT spokesman for that district.

        The Butler-Warren project is expected to take two months to install, beginning in August.


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