A high-tension cable barrier will be installed along the 119 kilometer stretch of Highway 401 between Tilbury and London, Ontario. This decision has already been made and construction is already underway. Its effectiveness however will remain questionable on a highway that contains so many large and heavy trucks. Just this past week, on June 22, 2018, a tractor trailer travelled through the median and collided with another truck resulting in fatal injuries to one of the truck drivers. It has not been definitively proven that the proposed high tension cable barrier will prevent such a collision from occurring. A cable can gain its strength of its length while being anchored at many locations and providing some level of deflection. However many loaded tractor trailers could weight as much as 80,000 pounds. Deflecting such a large mass may prove challenging when the truck’s angle of departure increases. Also, as has been proven in many instances, relatively minor impacts to installations are often left unrepaired and over time the initial strength of such a system becomes weakened.
There is little or no independent supervision of the agencies that provide maintenance to the systems. Police whose duty it should be to protect the public from all highway hazards, regardless of their origin, simply do not understand that their duty must include the protection of the public from hazards caused by roadway deficiencies.
There are many concerns with respect to the reporting of the results median cross-over collisions. The public that is expected to elect their political representatives must have a clear understanding of the safety issues so that they can inform their political representatives of what they expect. When the public is uninformed it makes the wrong requests. Thus a proper degree of public information about how highway systems are performing is essential.
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