What Is a Jersey Barrier Wall?

A Jersey barrier wall is a type of precast concrete barrier that is commonly used to separate opposing lanes of traffic. Jersey barriers are characterized by their distinctive shape, which helps to redirect vehicles away from the barrier and prevent them from crossing over into opposing lanes. Jersey barrier walls are commonly used on highways, bridges, and in other locations where there is a risk of vehicle collision. They are typically made from concrete and are designed to withstand high impact forces, making them an effective solution for protecting drivers and passengers on the road. Jersey barrier walls can be either temporary or permanent and are most often found in the northeast region of the U.S. where they originated, though they are used on bridge and road projects across the country.

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Origins of the Jersey Barrier Name

The origin of Jersey barrier walls can be traced back to California, where the first concrete road barriers were first installed on a treacherous stretch of road referred to as "Dead Man's Curve." This section of the highway had a reputation for fatal head-on collisions, and the barriers were introduced to address this problem. The effectiveness of these barriers led the state of New Jersey to invest in developing similar structures for use on their own highways, which have since become the norm in New Jersey. As a result, these barriers are now commonly referred to as "Jersey barriers."

Difference Between Jersey Barriers and Other Barrier Walls

It's important to note that not all road barriers are Jersey barriers. While Jersey barriers were the first of their kind, other types of barriers have since been developed. However, the term "Jersey barrier" is often used to refer to all types of barrier walls, which can lead to confusion. Other types of barrier wall include f-shape barrier wall, low profile barrier wall, k-rail barrier wall, single slope barrier wall, and more.

Materials Used to Create Jersey Barrier Walls

Jersey barriers are usually constructed with steel-reinforced poured concrete and feature steel reinforcement beams that protrude from both ends. This system allows each barrier to connect to its neighbor, creating a wall. Concrete Jersey barriers are best suited for temporary and permanent installation.

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Jersey Barrier Walls and Head-On Collision Prevention

If a car hits the barrier, the vehicle’s tires will ride up the lower sloped face of the concrete, which forces the vehicle to pivot away from oncoming traffic and back into its original direction. Additionally, this “slide” and redirection up the side of the barrier can prevent vehicles from rolling over.

The Cost Effectiveness of Jersey Barrier Walls

Highways that use Jersey barriers are more cost-effective than those that do not. Jersey barrier walls decrease the number of out of control vehicles crashing through highway barriers while also eliminating the need for costly repairs to damaged medians. This is especially true in locations with high accident rates and narrow medians.

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