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Author Topic: Are there any new highways being built with a concrete median?  (Read 2439 times)

tolbs17

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Are there any new highways being built with a concrete median?
« on: January 18, 2022, 12:29:41 AM »

These days it's rare unless an existing highway (like I-85 or I-95) is being widened. The Northern beltway in Winston-Salem has a grass median. Pretty much all new freeway segments have a grass median when built. Although I-85 in Salisbury was widened and they used a grass median and not a concrete barrier.

Unless it's in mountainous areas, I can still see a concrete barrier being used for highways even when new.

The New Jersey and Florida turnpike though is a different story I guess.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2022, 12:32:09 AM by tolbs17 »
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Are there any new highways being built with a concrete median?
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2022, 12:39:03 AM »

These days it's rare unless an existing highway (like I-85 or I-95) is being widened. The Northern beltway in Winston-Salem has a grass median. Pretty much all new freeway segments have a grass median when built. Although I-85 in Salisbury was widened and they used a grass median and not a concrete barrier.

Unless it's in mountainous areas, I can still see a concrete barrier being used for highways even when new.

The New Jersey and Florida turnpike though is a different story I guess.

Even the NJ Turnpike wasn't built with a concrete median barrier. It was a grassy median with/without guardrail. The paved full left shoulder with jersey barrier came about during widenings, with remaining areas getting it in the late 1980s or so.
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tolbs17

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Re: Are there any new highways being built with a concrete median?
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2022, 12:39:54 AM »

These days it's rare unless an existing highway (like I-85 or I-95) is being widened. The Northern beltway in Winston-Salem has a grass median. Pretty much all new freeway segments have a grass median when built. Although I-85 in Salisbury was widened and they used a grass median and not a concrete barrier.

Unless it's in mountainous areas, I can still see a concrete barrier being used for highways even when new.

The New Jersey and Florida turnpike though is a different story I guess.

Even the NJ Turnpike wasn't built with a concrete median barrier. It was a grassy median with/without guardrail. The paved full left shoulder with jersey barrier came about during widenings, with remaining areas getting it in the late 1980s or so.
honestly did not know that!
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SkyPesos

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Re: Are there any new highways being built with a concrete median?
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2022, 12:41:06 AM »

I-69 in Indiana have a short 2.4 mi section between exits 87 and 98 with a concrete median. Otherwise, the rest of the route south of Bloomington is a grass median. It also has a concrete median through Bloomington, but that part was IN 37 before and you're not counting widenings/modifications of already existing highways.
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tolbs17

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Re: Are there any new highways being built with a concrete median?
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2022, 12:43:42 AM »

I-69 in Indiana have a short 2.4 mi section between exits 87 and 98 with a concrete median. Otherwise, the rest of the route south of Bloomington is a grass median. It also has a concrete median through Bloomington, but that part was IN 37 before and you're not counting widenings/modifications of already existing highways.
Yeah. I just want to know if there are any new highways being built with concrete barriers.
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Rick Powell

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Re: Are there any new highways being built with a concrete median?
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2022, 12:55:13 AM »

Not many "new" multi-lane limited access highways in Illinois. There are two major ones I can think of, the I-355 south extension (I-55 to I-80) and the Elgin OHare (IL 390 from I-355 to York Road). The first was built with a barrier median down the middle for its full length, the second was built with a grass median with a cable barrier on one shoulder. 
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tolbs17

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Re: Are there any new highways being built with a concrete median?
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2022, 01:01:57 AM »

For all I know, there has been none here in this state except in mountainous areas.
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ilpt4u

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Re: Are there any new highways being built with a concrete median?
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2022, 12:44:27 PM »

Not many "new" multi-lane limited access highways in Illinois. There are two major ones I can think of, the I-355 south extension (I-55 to I-80) and the Elgin OHare (IL 390 from I-355 to York Road). The first was built with a barrier median down the middle for its full length, the second was built with a grass median with a cable barrier on one shoulder.
The I-70 new alignment to the Stan Span, was built with a concrete median barrier
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I-55

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Re: Are there any new highways being built with a concrete median?
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2022, 02:47:35 PM »

OH-823 (Portsmouth Bypass) was built with a concrete barrier for its entire length, completed December 18, 2019 (Wikipedia).
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SeriesE

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Re: Are there any new highways being built with a concrete median?
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2022, 04:37:37 PM »

Westside Parkway in Bakersfield, CA is one of them. Parts of it are still under construction.
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Revive 755

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Re: Are there any new highways being built with a concrete median?
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2022, 10:46:56 PM »

I don't think it's the barrier/jersey type median the original poster is looking for, but technicallyof Longmeadow Parkway from around IL 31 to just east of the Fox River crossing in the Chicago suburbs has a concrete median.

Doesn't most of the Missouri portion of the Bella Vista Bypass on I-49 have a concrete barrier median?
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Rick Powell

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Re: Are there any new highways being built with a concrete median?
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2022, 12:50:04 AM »

It's not new, but the Will Rogers Turnpike in OK is a fairly rare case of a rural 4 lane interstate (where land was probably cheap when it was built) being built on the narrowest footprint possible, including a concrete barrier median. Almost all rural interstates have a grass or earth median, except in mountainous areas or where they encounter a river where building directional bridges face-to-face makes economic sense.
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Scott5114

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Re: Are there any new highways being built with a concrete median?
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2022, 02:28:58 AM »

I don't think the Will Rogers Turnpike was actually built with a concrete barrier; most of the Oklahoma turnpikes were built with a very narrow raised grass median. (Here's a stretch of the Indian Nation Turnpike with a profile typical of that era.) Later on, they tore the dirt out flush with the pavement, paved the median, and put in either a Jersey or cable barrier (work on doing that to the northern half of the Indian Nation Turnpike was going on this past summer when I clinched it).
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Tom958

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Re: Are there any new highways being built with a concrete median?
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2022, 11:13:37 AM »

These days it's rare unless an existing highway (like I-85 or I-95) is being widened. The Northern beltway in Winston-Salem has a grass median. Pretty much all new freeway segments have a grass median when built. Although I-85 in Salisbury was widened and they used a grass median and not a concrete barrier.

In North Carolina, most new freeways are built with 46-foot medians, enough room to add two twelve-foot traffic lanes plus ten-foot left shoulders and a two-foot-wide concrete barrier. They've been doing that on various projects since the eighties, as I and others delved into in this thread. I was amazed to learn that that includes virtually all of I-40 from Raleigh to Wilmington, which is highly unlikely to ever require six-laning. A case could be made, then, that virtually all new freeways in North Carolina are designed to eventually have a concrete median barrier. It's not rare at all.

One problem with that argument is that there are seemingly-similar cases, such as I-85 near Salisbury and, more recently, I-85 south of China Grove versus at Spencer, where barrier-now versus barrier-maybe-later were chosen for (to me) no obvious reason. My uneducated guess would be that, once it was decided that the once-somewhat-standard 68-foot width needed a cable rail barrier, might as well narrow the median to 46 feet and provide a slightly-more-expensive two-sided W beam guardrail instead. Or, in the China Grove vs. Spencer case, it may have had to do with construction phasing depending on the original median widths: narrow at Spencer, sixtyish south of China Grove.
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rower155

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Re: Are there any new highways being built with a concrete median?
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2022, 12:17:26 AM »

These days it's rare unless an existing highway (like I-85 or I-95) is being widened. The Northern beltway in Winston-Salem has a grass median. Pretty much all new freeway segments have a grass median when built. Although I-85 in Salisbury was widened and they used a grass median and not a concrete barrier.

Unless it's in mountainous areas, I can still see a concrete barrier being used for highways even when new.

The New Jersey and Florida turnpike though is a different story I guess.

It's a very good observation.  We accept barriers as a design feature when needed...not uncommon in order to minimize right-of-way, environmental impacts, or cost. But it is not a first choice, particularly for new freeways. Grass medians are better at controlling runoff and stormwater pollutants.  More importantly, barriers themselves are a hazard. I think it's often underestimated how detrimental they can be to public safety and a lot of highway designers are a little too quick to use them.

Go ahead to Google Images and search for "multi vehicle pileup".  Image after image after image...what's one thing they have in common?  The presence of some form of barrier. There's little doubt that most of these would be less severe if barriers were not present.
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Scott5114

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Re: Are there any new highways being built with a concrete median?
« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2022, 12:33:42 AM »

↑ Selection bias: a multi-vehicle pileup is more likely to happen near barriers because roads with higher traffic volumes tend to have barriers. Urban highways are also more likely to have barriers, and a pileup in an urban area is more likely to get significant media coverage than one in a rural area (which is less likely to have barriers).
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Road Hog

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Re: Are there any new highways being built with a concrete median?
« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2022, 11:09:09 PM »

The reconstructed US 75 that was completed about 2015 has a concrete Jersey barrier up to McKinney, but the added reconstruction farther up to Anna has an open median. The Jersey barrier returns when you cross over into Grayson County, where another reconstruction was competed in about 2004. So it seems to be a new design standard.
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tolbs17

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Re: Are there any new highways being built with a concrete median?
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2022, 08:47:56 AM »

Keep in mind guys. I'm talking about highways built from scratch.
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cbeach40

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Re: Are there any new highways being built with a concrete median?
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2022, 10:24:29 AM »

In Ontario, the Hwy 401 extension to the future Gordie Howe International Bridge was built recently with a concrete median as it was pushed through a tight right-of-way. And a few more around here in the 10-20 year range, again with limited space as the factor.
Another Canadian one that springs to mind is in the Vancouver area, where the South Fraser Perimeter Road (portion of BC-17) was built semi-recently in a tight space, necessitating a concrete barrier.

By and large concrete medians are vastly more expensive and less safe than wide enough grass ones, and on greenfield highways it's likely the wider swath of land would be cheaper than the median.
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1995hoo

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Re: Are there any new highways being built with a concrete median?
« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2022, 10:46:46 AM »

A portion of Maryland's Intercounty Connector (MD-200) was built with a concrete barrier; most of the road has a very narrow grass median with metal guardrails.
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Re: Are there any new highways being built with a concrete median?
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2022, 07:37:50 PM »

↑ Selection bias: a multi-vehicle pileup is more likely to happen near barriers because roads with higher traffic volumes tend to have barriers. Urban highways are also more likely to have barriers, and a pileup in an urban area is more likely to get significant media coverage than one in a rural area (which is less likely to have barriers).

Eh, not entirely.
Pileups are most likely to occur wherever low visibility conditions occur, many of which are in rural areas that lack a heat island effect to remove fog.
Just taking a gander at the Wikipedia list, I am seeing Michigan, Tennessee, Alabama, Wisconsin (and not necessarily in cities either). Clearly there is not a direct relation to traffic volume, or most of them would be in the northeast seaboard and California.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Are there any new highways being built with a concrete median?
« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2022, 07:59:27 PM »

↑ Selection bias: a multi-vehicle pileup is more likely to happen near barriers because roads with higher traffic volumes tend to have barriers. Urban highways are also more likely to have barriers, and a pileup in an urban area is more likely to get significant media coverage than one in a rural area (which is less likely to have barriers).

Eh, not entirely.
Pileups are most likely to occur wherever low visibility conditions occur, many of which are in rural areas that lack a heat island effect to remove fog.
Just taking a gander at the Wikipedia list, I am seeing Michigan, Tennessee, Alabama, Wisconsin (and not necessarily in cities either). Clearly there is not a direct relation to traffic volume, or most of them would be in the northeast seaboard and California.

They actually do occur quite frequently in the Northeast and California areas. They're just not as newsworthy because of how frequently they occur.
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HighwayStar

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Re: Are there any new highways being built with a concrete median?
« Reply #22 on: January 24, 2022, 09:05:19 PM »

↑ Selection bias: a multi-vehicle pileup is more likely to happen near barriers because roads with higher traffic volumes tend to have barriers. Urban highways are also more likely to have barriers, and a pileup in an urban area is more likely to get significant media coverage than one in a rural area (which is less likely to have barriers).

Eh, not entirely.
Pileups are most likely to occur wherever low visibility conditions occur, many of which are in rural areas that lack a heat island effect to remove fog.
Just taking a gander at the Wikipedia list, I am seeing Michigan, Tennessee, Alabama, Wisconsin (and not necessarily in cities either). Clearly there is not a direct relation to traffic volume, or most of them would be in the northeast seaboard and California.

They actually do occur quite frequently in the Northeast and California areas. They're just not as newsworthy because of how frequently they occur.

The list is based on # of vehicles involved, rest assured there are not frequent 100+ car pileups happening in either area that are simply being left off the list because they are woefully common.
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Scott5114

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Re: Are there any new highways being built with a concrete median?
« Reply #23 on: January 24, 2022, 09:09:31 PM »

A Wikipedia list is also subject to the selection bias of a Wikipedia editor hearing of it and giving enough of a shit to put it on the list. The number of lists that have a patron contributor checking the news every day for a new item to add to them is very low.
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HighwayStar

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Re: Are there any new highways being built with a concrete median?
« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2022, 10:26:44 PM »

A Wikipedia list is also subject to the selection bias of a Wikipedia editor hearing of it and giving enough of a shit to put it on the list. The number of lists that have a patron contributor checking the news every day for a new item to add to them is very low.

Eh, in the long run it should settle out close enough.

Anyone aware of any 100+ car accidents not on the list?
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