The disintegration of a vehicle that collided with an ET-PLUS guardrail terminal on the south side of Highway 401 just west of Highbury Avenue in London, Ontario, did not actually happen. Or so it would seem since there has been little information of its occurrence or consequences. Portions of the separated vehicle such as its front bumper, its engine, transmission and windshield were all found strewn throughout the roadside. The ET-PLUS terminal that it struck was also separated in an unusual manner such that the frontal plate became separated from its rear channel and that plate was never found.
Further research indicates that the ET-PLUS located at this site had been impacted in a collision that was documented by Gorski Consulting on January 27, 2016. The three photos below show the general area and status of the impacted terminal at that time.
The problem with the performance of this installation is that, although substantial energy was dissipated through buckling of the guardrail in the background, very little of the energy was actually dissipated in passage of the rail through the throat of the terminal, as it is designed to do. It can be seen in the photo below that the guardrail came jammed at the back of the terminal’s channel when the terminal became deflected to a 90 degree angle. Buckling like this cannot result in any further movement of the terminal along the rail and the performance of the system becomes chaotic with unpredictable.
A top view of the terminal, shown below, demonstrates how a small length of guardrail managed to pass through the throat of the terminal before it became jammed.
Following this impact a new ET-PLUS terminal was installed, as shown in the two photos below taken on February 26, 2016.
View of the site on February 26, 2016 showing that a new ET-PLUS terminal had been installed after the impact in January of 2016.
There were no subsequent impacts of the ET-PLUS terminal until the one that occurred on July 23, 2018. Questions remain about the lack of reporting of the collision and its consequences. Even if there was a lone driver who miraculously escaped any serious injury one would think that this would have been a news-worthy story.