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Conceptual development of an impact-attenuation system for intersecting roadways.
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Conceptual development of an impact-attenuation system for intersecting roadways.
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    Longitudinal barriers are commonly used to shield hazards, including stiff bridge rail ends and slopes. In some locations,

    a secondary roadway intersects the primary roadway within the guardrail’s length-of-need (LON). Some intersections may

    have as little as 15 ft (4.6 m) between the intersection and beginning of the bridge railing, which require short-radius

    guardrail systems. One short-radius guardrail system has passed several crash tests under AASHTO Manual for Assessing

    Safety Hardware (MASH) standards.

    Site conditions provided by the Nebraska Department of Roads were used to determine the constraints for a new safety

    treatment for intersecting roadways and include intersection radii, bridge railing offset distances, and clear zone distances.

    An examination of the site conditions determined that the bridge railing end should be treated as a hazard, as defined in the

    AASHTO Roadside Design Guide. The hazard would begin at the bridge railing end with a width extending to the clear

    zone. Several design concepts were developed to treat these situations with a preference on using existing technologies that

    could be adapted for this hazard scenario.

    Fifteen concepts were brainstormed, with three considered for further analysis and evaluation. These concepts included

    net attenuation/end terminal, inertial barrel array/end terminal, and a bullnose with a secondary energy absorber inside of it.

    All three systems were capable of stopping a vehicle in the space available, but only the net attenuation/end terminal

    concept was considered likely to accommodate the site conditions using a moderate slope behind the system. Four dynamic

    bogie tests and two static tests were performed on potential net attenuators to evaluate their use as energy absorbers in the

    preferred design concept. Recommendations for further development of the net attenuation system were provided.

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