FHWA: no proof so far that guardrail terminals are unsafe

Johnson City, TN (WJHL)  — A top national highway safety officials says, despite concerns at the state level, she’s seen no proof so far that guardrail end terminals are unsafe.   But the Federal Highway Administration official said an effort is underway to gather more information from state departments of transportation.

That’s what FHWA’s Office of Safety Associate Administrator Elizabeth Alicandri told FHWA Division Administrators on May 3rd in a memorandum saying the agency now is in the process of collecting crash data on the X-Lite guardrail end terminal from states.

READ:  FHWA’s May 3rd memo on guardrail terminals

The move came after a request from Tennessee Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker that FHWA consider revoking its letter of eligibility for the X-Lite guardrail terminal.

READ: Sens. Alexander and Corker letter to FHWA

Earlier this year, the Tennessee Department of Transportation made the decision to remove more than 1,800 X-Lite terminals statewide after a series of fatal traffic crashes.

The letter of eligibility is the FHWA’s verification that a product meets federal safety criteria and is eligible for federal reimbursement.

The maker of the X-Lite terminal has successfully passed crash tests in accordance with federal standards. (Source: http://www.barriersystemsinc.com)

But while the FHWA is collecting crash data, Allicandri made it clear she’s yet to see evidence that guardrail terminals are unsafe.

Allicandri  said an FHWA expert who was not involved in the original review of crash testing on the X-Lite terminal reviewed the information on the product and found “no notable concerns with the original report.”

“As a first step in response to the requests to review information on the X-LITE, an FHWA expert who had not previously been involved in reviewing the X-LITE testing results examined the original applications and related materials for the Lindsay X-LITE guardrail terminal,” Alicandri said.

Alicandri said FHWA’s most recent survey of guardrail end terminal performance “does not lead to any conclusions that any of the (guardrail terminal) devices, including the Lindsay X-Lite, are unsafe.” The FHWA pilot program was conducted in Missouri, California, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.

Alicandri said she’s asking all FHWA division administrators to gather input from state departments of transportation on guardrail performance.

In the memo, Alicandri said FHWA is aware of 6 states including Tennessee and Virginia that have removed the X-Lite terminal from their qualified products list.

“States that shared a reason for removing the device from the QPL indicated they were moving to devices that are compliant with AASHTO’s Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH),” Alicandri said. “Five States indicated they are in the process of gathering information on the X-LITE and three States expressed some concerns with the device, including constructability challenges and overall quality concerns.”

Alicandri directed staff gathering evidence from states to report their findings by May 19th.

Copyright 2017 WJHL.  All rights reserved.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s