Median cable stops tractor trailer from crossover crash: MoDOT archive study shows median cables save lives

Joplin News First

LAWRENCE COUNTY, Mo. — About 10 p.m. Monday night EMS 911 were alerted to a crash on I-44 west near 46 mile marker where a tractor trailer had rolled into the median onto its side. 

Lawrence County Deputies, Mercy Ambulance, Mount Vernon Fire Department responded. Missouri State Highway Patrol were notified. 

The tractor trailer was loaded with 15,000 pounds of frozen food in a reefer box, that appeared to not be breached. 

The driver suffered minor injuries. 

The truck had taken out a length of median cable about 336 feet. But the cable had prevented the truck from crossing over into the oncoming lanes. Statistics say that 70% of median crossover crashes end in fatality.

MODOT have been installing median cable since the early 2000’s and they have proven to save lives in Missouri. Perhaps even tonight.

M&M Wrecker were able to upright the box without breaching the contents and tow it away. 

We will update this article here with more information as it is released by authorities. 


Before median cables, 2002: 24 crossover crash fatalities on I-70. 2007 after I-70 completion of cables: 1 fatality

MARCH 2020 CRASH SCENE INTO MEDIAN CABLE AT SARCOXIE.

“Median cables are effective in reducing the number of cross-median crashes both disabling and fatal and they are cost-effective,” said MoDOT State Traffic Engineer Eileen Rackers. “The cables are hit more often, but more lives are being saved.” 

The purpose of the median guard cable is to prevent vehicles that have left the roadway from sliding across the median and hitting oncoming traffic. Head-on collisions MODOT states are some of the most severe and deadly crashes on our roadways.

“On Interstate 70 in 2002, there were 24 fatalities involving cars that crossed over the median. In 2007, a year after guard cable was completely installed on all of I-70, there was one fatality involving a cross-median crash.” – MODOT Fast Facts

WHO PAYS FOR THEM?

The median cable barriers cost about $60,000 per mile to install and approximately $10,000 a year to maintain. Median cable must be repaired after each hit to maintain effectiveness. The initial installation was paid for through federal safety funding.

“Now that installation is complete, motorists are responsible for damages to the guard cable system. Much in the same way motorists are responsible for damages caused to other vehicles or property in collisions, any individual who causes damages to the guard cable system must pay to repair the damages,” MoDOT states.

Missouri State Highway Patrol radioed at 10:10 AM the crash near Sarcoxie (27.8 mile marker) was cleared and the semi towed. There was approximately 300 feet of cable down.

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