In 2015, Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) updated safety barriers on various key routes around New South Wales as part of its Guardrail Terminal Upgrade Program.
RMS selected ACP’s X-Tension 350 technology as the right safety barrier for two main routes leading to and from Wollongong – Mount Ousley Road and Picton Road. Guardrail installation specialists Euro Civil installed approximately 12 11-metre-long X-Tension 350 units on site.
Designed and manufactured in Australia, it is the world’s first fully re-directive guardrail terminal end. The barrier uses a tension based solution rather than compression based.
Damian Hassan, ACP Sales Manager – NSW, explains that RMS chose the X-Tension 350 Guardrail Terminal End because of its specifications, ease of installation and innovative barrier technology.
The length of need – the total length of barrier needed to shield an area – starts from the first post of the X-Tension 350, rather than the third.
“Usually all other guardrail terminals are from the third post. This one redirects a vehicle from the first post in the system, which sets it apart from any other terminal on the market,” says Mr. Hassan.
The system provides optimum vehicle control and energy absorbing capabilities in head-on collisions as the energy is absorbed at the impact head, and is not transferred down the rail.
“If the vehicle impacts the head of the lead post, the rails slide up and will give way,” says Mr. Hassan. The vehicle will be redirected and controlled instead of passing through the terminal. The amount of debris scatter from a crash is reduced as a result.
“Another major benefit of the system is that it’s clearly visible because of the bright yellow head at the front. Motorcyclists don’t get caught in the guardrail because of the soft plastic head either,” he adds.
The X-Tension 350 system has been crash tested and is approved to NCHRP350 TL-3. “The end terminals are actively tested up to 100 kilometres per hour, but we’ve seen drivers walk away from crashes at higher speeds,” says Mr. Hassan.
Mr. Hassan exemplifies an incident in New Zealand where a vehicle carrying four passengers hit an X-Tension 350 End Terminal at 130 kilometres per hour and the occupants escaped injury.
Mr. Hassan says it is perfect for the stretches of road to and from Wollongong where RMS has used the guardrails, particularly as it’s a high speed and high frequency area.
He says RMS has used the X-Tension 350 technology extensively in the past, as have many other road authorities across the country.
The tried and tested technology has been a staple product on Australian roads, and the fact it is still used extensively on high-speed stretches of road, such as those around Wollongong, is a testament to the longevity and standard of the technology.
“We do a lot of hard work behind the scenes, which includes a lot of presentations to asset managers, meetings with road authorities and, generally, spreading the safety message,” explains Mr. Hassan.
ACP has specialists and engineers on-hand to answer any questions regarding the technology and its installation. This is in addition to the company’s comprehensive installation guides, which include manuals, videos and even a smart phone app.
The X-Tension technology is used nationwide and is listed as an approved barrier end terminal by all Australian road authorities.