Semi slides into median I-44 eastbound Monday, stopped by median cables, avoiding a crossover head-on crash; Median cables ‘Save Mo Lives’

Joplin News First

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

JASPER COUNTY, Mo. (Sarcoxie Area) — About 8:30 AM Monday Jasper County Sheriff’s Deputies and EMS were alerted to a semi that slid into the median cable, I-44 eastbound near Sarcoxie, 27.8 mile marker.

This was a non-injury crash involving only the semi. It was caught up in the median cable and needed towing. Today could have been much worse if the semi crossed the median into oncoming traffic.

Collage of crash scene.

“Median guard 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


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.

IMAGES: Missouri Dept of Transportation
Inset image, MODOT.

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