By JENNIFER HORTONThe Wilson Post
If you are headed east and west on Interstate 40 Sunday night through Wednesday night, slow down, because one lane in each direction will at times be shut down as new cable barriers and rails are installed to try and prevent cross-over crashes.
The cable barriers will be installed along a 6-mile stretch from mile marker 225 to 231, or from near Mt. Juliet to around Highway 109, said B.J. Doughty, community relations office for Region 3 with the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
The work will be done from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Officials with the company doing the work, RMD Holdings, requested lane closures beginning last night through Wednesday, but Doughty said no work will be done on Friday and Saturday nights. All lanes of the interstate will be open then.
“It doesn’t take an incredibly long time,” she said to install the rails and cable barriers, and added the work should take a week or two to complete.
The installation is part of large contract TDOT has throughout Middle Tennessee. Work on the $3.8 million contract began in November and will run through May 2010. Money for the project is from Federal safety funds.
Doughty said with the work being done at night, there should not be a huge impact on traffic and noted when completed, the cable barriers will be “a worthwhile safety improvement.”
TDOT officials began testing the cable barriers elsewhere in the state in 2005, she said, and “the department was really pleased with how it performs.”
Department officials have developed some criteria to use in determining where the cable barriers should be installed. Among them are crash history, the median (cable barriers are not appropriate for all medians), horizontal curves, obstructions in the median, such as whether trees are present; and elevation.
“It’s quite a list of criteria.”
TDOT engineering and safety officials looked at and identified many locations statewide that would benefit from the cable barriers. TDOT has similar contracts for the work in its other regions in the Knoxville and Tri-Cities area, Chattanooga and Memphis.
“They will be a really effective tool in reducing these kinds of accidents,” Doughty said, noting that sometimes cross-over wrecks can result in fatalities.
She urged drivers to be cautious and drive slowly when workers are present. Another company, Lu Incorporated, was doing similar work in Anderson County along Interstate 75 when a vehicle struck and killed two workers for the firm.
Doughty said RMD workers will not have the entire 6 miles shut down at one time during the installation. Even though the cable barriers are being installed in the median in the westbound side of I-40, one lane in both directions will be closed while the work is being done as an extra safety precaution.
Editor Jennifer Horton may be contacted at email@example.com.