State to expand use of cable barriers on highways

Drivers for utility companies, oil and gas firms and electric cooperatives might find something new in the state as they travel state highways—-more cable barriers instead of the concrete barriers.

As the Journal Record reported recently, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation is in the process of possibly replacing guard rails with cable barriers on some two-lane highways.

Cost is one factor. The use of concrete barriers carries a tab of more than $600,000 per mile while the average cost of installing cable barriers is about $170,000 per mile.

The State has already spent $81 million since 2007 on installation of 685 miles of cable barrier and it has apparently saved lives. Crossover crashes with no barriers claimed 37 lives in 2004 but in 2017, only nine were reported.

So ODOT is planning to install more cable barrriers. A nearly 5-mile stretch on US-270 in Pontotoc County will be installed and about 7 miles will be installed on US-81 in Grady County.